August 2009

This is a statement sent out by the Family Care Council:

Statement by APD Director Jim DeBeaugrine on Court Decision on Tier Rule

Tallahassee – Today the First District Court of Appeals issued a ruling determining the tier waiver rule to be invalid.

APD will thoroughly review the opinion issued by the First District Court of Appeals to determine which options will best preserve the benefits of our customers. Options include seeking rehearing, appealing to the Florida Supreme Court, and an internal review of the rule.

“The top priorities of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities are the health and safety of the people we serve. We will continue to try to meet the needs of our customers while adhering to the mandatory requirements of the tier waiver statute,” said Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Jim DeBeaugrine.

The agency annually serves about 35,000 Floridians with developmental disabilities of mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information on the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES or visit

Breaking News

Appeals Court Rules Tier Rules are Invalid

The First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, Florida ruled today that the Tiers for serving Persons with Disabilities are invalid. Please see the attached link for the ruling.


Giving helps us to be a part of the church

II Corinthian 8:2-5

Central Theme:  We can help the church by giving.


       1.     Ask the ushers to go and get the offering plates from the counters.

       2.     We have just taken up the offering.

       3.     Some of you gave generously;  some gave a little bit.

       4.     Whatever you gave, you gave more than money.

       5.     You gave a part of yourself.

       6.     Put one foot in each offering plate.

       I.     Have a member read II Corinthians 8:2-5.  Keep your feet in the offering plate.

              A. Spending is different from giving to the Lord.

                   1.  We spend money for a lot of things.

                   2.  Have some members tell what they bought this week.

                   3.  When you spend money, you get something in return.

              B. Giving gifts to friends is different from giving to the Lord

                   1.  For Valentine’s Day I got diamond earrings.  I love them more every day.

                   2.  Frank has a birthday coming up.  Maybe he’ll get computer equipment. 

                   3.  We give gifts because of something we have received or  because we want a good gift back.

              C. Giving to the Lord is important to your Christian life.

                   1.  We should give for the sheer joy of giving.

                   2.  God will bless you if you aren’t happy about it.

                   3.  But the motivation should be because there is great joy in giving to the Lord.

Conclusion–Giving to the Lord brings joy and shows our joy because we are able to give of ourselves to the Lord.

This is information obtained from the Family Care Council that should help when meeting with Legislators. 

Florida  Waiver Data – 7/09

29,836 People receiving services

          – Tier 1: 3,602

          – Tier 2: 3,798

          – Tier 3: 5,539

          – Tier 4: 12,731 – Roughly half

          – TBD: 3,394

About 3% are on CDC+


Waiver Services by Age – 7/09

Tier/Age              3-5              6-22           23-30         31+             Total

T1                          0                836               910         1856                    3602

T2                          0                467               619          2712          3798

T3                          0                520             1165          3854          5538         

T4                          5              5473             2451          4802        12731         

TBD                      1                480               693          2220          3394                            

Total                 6          7,776          5838     15,444     29,064       

Wait List July 2009

  • 18,972 People on the Wait List in Florida as of July 2009
  •  Ages 3-5: 676
  • Ages 6-22: 11,225
  • Ages 23-30: 3,519
  • Ages 31+: 3,552
  • Average cost per month to provide waiver services is $70,210,603.95 which is about $28,000 per year per individual
  • About $100M of state funds required to support all of those over the age of 22 assuming matching Fed. Funds

Total Florida budget is about $67 Billion

 In February 2008, I began blogging.  I had learned from past experience and from other successful bloggers that in order to make an impact in the blogosphere, you need to do daily entries.  It was like entering a whole different world.  As I’ve spoken to pastors and ministers about the benefits of blogging, time seems to be the biggest concern that others express.

“I don’t have the time to do the other things I need to do” is what I hear when I speak to groups of pastors about blogging.  Because I don’t get many comments each day, my blogging is limited to the amount of time it takes to make an entry. 

Comments do take a great deal of time because there is a need to respond to them.  I hate that I don’t get a lot of comments but if time is an issue, you can either not respond to each comment, or not allow comments.  However, that opens up an entirely different can of beans that we will talk about later.

When I first began blogging, I allotted at least an hour each day to write and edit an entry.   Usually it took two hours because I was learning the whole process and I was fascinated by the underpinnings.  Now, I take between 15 and 30 minutes to write and edit  my daily entry.  Working for a magazine, I did learn to write quickly.  However, I’ve also worked out a system. 

I put in new entries about the ministry each day, Monday through Friday.  I log in advocacy issues on Saturday.  These articles I get from advocates who e-mail me all during the week.  My biggest problem with my Saturday entry is determining what NOT to include.  

I found that one of the biggest Google requests was sermons for mentally challenged persons.  Therefore, on Sunday, I pull an old sermon from my computer files and log that.  

By Monday, I’m itching to share some of the things I learned during the weekend and the new week begins.  I’ve also learned that material is everywhere.  At times, I do a week of entries in one sitting.  If I’m going on vacation, I don’t take my lap top to blog each day.  I do an entry for each day and schedule it for the next week.  Doing a week of blogs isn’t as hard as doing one each day and it usually takes me about 15 to 20 minutes per entry.

 This past week, I knew that much of my time would be consumed with my grandchildren.  Therefore, I took all the yummy things I had learned from the Conference I had attended and used that material to write an entire week’s of entries in about one hour.  That was fun and benefitial because I was cementing the information into my brain as I was sharing with the readers.

In reality, I understand that the fact that I enjoy writing makes the entire process easier for me.  However, when I look at the fact that I’ve had 21,000 visits to the Special Gathering ministry in the past year via the Internet, I love the results even more than the process.  Yes.  Many of these people are associated with this ministry anyway.  Yet, at least 75 percent of the visits are the result of a Google or YaHoo search.  These are serious, sometimes desperate, people with questions and wanting answers. 

What are the things that make you hesitant to begin a ministry blogging?

Risk taking is an interesting topic. It is even more interesting when it translates into an individual’s life. I found myself discussing the lottery with a friend the other day. I don’t gamble in any form or fashion. I do understand the godly principle of not trying to get something for nothing and because of that, I don’t gamble. However, I must be honest with myself. For me, it isn’t as much the Christian principle against coveting that prevents me from gambling as the principle of risk. I refuse to throw money to the wind.
In the same way, at Special Gathering, we are careful about the money we receive from our local churches. Years ago, our founder and executive director, Richard Stimson, determined that buildings were an enormous expense that we could easily eliminate. Thanks to the generosity of local churches, agencies and even local hospitals, we have been able to successfully meet without the added expenses incurred if we were strapped to buildings. We have operated the same way with vehicles. While many churches are no longer able to lend their vans, we shuffle and improvise because of the great expense associated with owning these vehicles.


Faith is a great risk.  However, with God, it is never success or failure that matters but obedience.  If we succeed, He is there applauding and cheering.  If we fail, He is also there, comforting, discipling and teaching.

There was an interesting discussion on worship at this blog a couple of weeks ago.  Have you used anything in worship that seemed risky at the time but you found to be extremely effective?

She was 30ish and quite pretty.  A loyal employee, this high functioning young woman had lived in her own apartment for years.  She had never qualified for support from Agency for Persons with Disabilites.  However, a local agency took her under its wings and provided supported living services for her. 

A few years ago, she GRADUATED from supported living.  She had a job and was well regarded by her employee and co-worker.  She was a clean freak who kept her apartment squeaky immaculate.  She had friends.  Yes, she was living in a bad apartment complex in the worst part of town but it was all she could afford.  Without any external supports, there was not way she would be able to get another apartment.

She had a brutal childhood but her determination made her buckle under and become a better person, because of what she had endured. 

She was a great success story.

Monday, they found her murdered in her apartment.

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