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Arizona Tops 50-State Ranking Of Disability Services


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Arizona’s Medicaid program provides the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a national ranking released Wednesday.

The annual list produced by United Cerebral Palsy compares services and quality of life for people with disabilities all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Arizona, Michigan, California, New Hampshire and Vermont came in at the top of the list this year.

Meanwhile, for the sixth year in a row, Mississippi was dead last, with Illinois, Arkansas and Texas rounding out the low performers. (Find out where your state stands »)

The analysis looks at a number of factors including the way people with disabilities live and participate in their communities in each state, how satisfied people are with their lives and how easily they are able to access services and supports.

The latest ranking is based primarily on data from 2010, the most recent available.

Even though some states outperformed others in the ranking, those behind the report caution that all states have room for improvement. They point out that 268,000 Americans with disabilities are currently on waiting lists for Medicaid waivers which would allow them to receive home and community based services.

On a positive note, however, the analysis found that in 36 states at least 80 percent of residents with developmental disabilities are now being served in the community.

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Comments (25 Responses)

  1. msamericanpatriot says:

    I am not surprised that North Carolina is 44. It is pathetic.

  2. beverly grace says:

    Who did they ask in Vermont and what were the questions? Inclusion by itself is not good autism care, particularly if the child with autism is in a regular class all the time but gets no help to adapt and overcome his/her problems. Many students with autism are just dropped in a regular class with no thought to what is best for the child. Many others are homeschooled because the class is just totally unsuitable. Adult services and employment support are terrible in Vermont.

  3. hdemic says:

    I’m in Mich and WHAT. Where did you do take your survey in Yipsi. Mich has four famous citys for the worst in the nation. And what help did I get. No school. Oh thats right. The most organizations are probley in Mich. That do nothing. and mich was named one of the most corrupt in the US. RIGHT. AHhuh. Do you have any idea whats going on with the disabled in the detroit schools right now. This must be a survey in Yipsi where the state Mental ins used to be.

  4. Donna Broden says:

    I am a Board of Director of Claudy’s House for Developmentally Challenged Adults. Our goal is to provide a loving Christian environment, group home for developmentally challenged adults. We are seeking to obtain our first home in Dallas, TX and subsequent homes in Flint, MI. After reading your list of where states rank for their services to the developmentally challenged population, we need to hurry up and get a house for our Texas residents.

  5. Betty Young says:

    Another thing for Texas NOT to be proud of! Another thing that Texas SHOULD be ashamed of!

  6. Anonymous teacher says:

    How the … does California keep coming in top of the list? Who ever is making this list needs to reduce the standing of these states for gross inequality in services between higher and lower socioeconomic level, minority groups, and geographic area. I have worked in a number of states, mostly on the east coast, and there is no way that low income urban areas compare with those other states which are much lower on the list!! I would also like to note that there is a difference between receiving services and receiving treatment. Some state put most of their funds into early treatment and taper off their services as the child gets older. This works for allot of students who through intensive intervention become independent and thus need fewer services later on. I feel sick when I think parents are going to look at this list and move their families to California. If they are going to the OC or the Valley then they may get top notch services but otherwise the parents are in for a huge disappointment.

  7. Marcie Lipsitt says:

    Whomever researched and compiled the data for this report completely missed the educational boat naming Michigan in the top tier of states providing the best services. Post to Michigan listservs and inquire about the programs and services. The responses will not be pretty, nor should they be. I am organizing an Occupy Michigan IEP Labor Day Rally due to the lack of programs and eroding services across school districts across our state.

  8. Glen S says:

    And the disability community continues to stand around the government’s table with its hand out asking for more.

  9. Brook says:

    I’ve lived in both Washington State and California. In my experience Washington State was far better with it’s care then California. Further, I noticed this report was generated from 2010 data, why? Currently, California has become worse in the care they provide. I’m considering moving back to Washington due to the elitist medical treatment I’ve witnessed. I’ve been told I can no longer get the medical services I’ve been getting, due to state budget issues. It would be interesting to see how the top four states stack up to other countries, and seeing a more current date would be helpful and more accurate.

  10. ann masotti says:

    New York should be ashamed….the State is all talk, layers of bueracracy (with more to come thanks to the Union loving Gov. Cuomo) and little “hands on” …. I had to send my daughter to a pricey program out of state because NY had nothing to offer, unless you consider busing to the dollar store an “outing”…’s a disgrace. Where are these tax dollars going? Why doesn’t anyone at the STate level care? There are so few quality programs for the DD adult it is a shame…I can’t tell you how many group meetings I attended, where I brought along my daughter for socialization….board games, more board games. Are not the Disabled entitled to really fun activities like museum trips, concerts, etc. just like any adult population? How much BOWLING can a young adult do? Most of these young people, like my daughter are very high functioning and require more.

    For what we pay to live in NY there should be more!

  11. Audrey says:

    I agree that Michigan has a long way to go in helping students with disabilities obtain the appropriate supports and services that they need to be successful in school (as do many, if not all, of the states). However, this list ranks the states based on Medicaid services. Arguing against the ranking based on a lack of support in the educational system doesn’t make any sense; the schools were not a factor in the list.

  12. Mary says:

    Arizona ranks high because we have fewer institutions in operation. However, that in and of itself does not mean that people with Developmental Disabilities are really being “served” in their communities. Being at home watching television and occasionally going bowling, or in a small group home watching tv is not being INCLUDED in your community. Being required to go to the library once a week, because that is what your group home does and sitting in the reading room doing NOTHING for hours is not a quality of life.
    I have reviewed the questions asked and UCP really needs to get into the 21st Century and ask questions that truly get at how people with disabilities and their families are SUPPORTED to live their fullest life in their communities. Do people with Developmental Disabilities have access to jobs and recreational opportunities that THEY choose? Do they have access to needed and desired services that they choose? For example, how many days or weeks do they have to budget to schedule an appointment? If they use mass transit how easy is it to access that transportation and how much time do they spend waiting in the waiting room because transportation requires them to waste half of their day by arriving early for the appointment and waiting to return home? If people with developmental disabilities live in group homes, do they know their neighbors? Are they included in neighborhood events, like block parties? These are all signs of being INCLUDED. The lack of institutions does not equate to a good quality of life. That is like saying all dogs have fur therefore everything with fur is a dog–it is illogical and thus to continue to tout this study as evidence that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a high quality of life in state’s like Arizona is false.

  13. Thomas C. Wood says:

    I am surprised that my State of New Hampshire is @ #4, given that the Tea Party Controlled NH State Legislature has been hell-bent in the last 18 months been trying to dismantle the social safety net us persons with physical & developmental disabilities rely upon for survival.

  14. Jessica says:

    “Mary says:June 2, 2012 at 9:49 am
    Being at home watching television ”
    Well at least they have a home. Think of it this way, Mary: I believe everything you just said, yet I think Arizona is still probably the best state in the nation. Not good. Where I live they are homeless, zero new homes are being provided, and DD is used as a reason for Medicaid to deny services because there is zero coverage for anything caused by DD. So if you are dually dx’d they will deny all treatment by blaming DD for all your symptoms.

  15. Michele Morgan says:

    New Hampshire in Fourth?! you have got to be kidding me. Biased on lies !

  16. cardmstr1 says:

    We live in the state of Illinois which ranks at the bottom for helping children with disabilities. We have a son with CP and he is 15 years old. At some point we will have to find a home for him. Q-We are considering moving. Timing is bad though as far as selling your house. However, we are not going to let that stop us. What state would be best to move to that would help with assistance, funding and living quarters for disabled children? 2nd question which state would be best to retire in? The 2 might not go hand in hand but maybe there is a good match.

  17. Whitney says:

    I agree with Texas in standings. When you speak to non-disabled they believe that they are doing enough. When you ask them if you as a person live with the services that Texas provides? They would say “no” and they say that no place is doing better and this how everyone does it. I would like to see people who non-disabled to live with less and make do or go hungry. Just because there needs to be a class action lawsuits for job equality. Or the people is faced legal indentured servitude and slavery by their own states with a salary nobody can live off of.

  18. llmc says:

    I have been dealing with the system in AZ for the last 18 years-since my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. Whoever wrote this article didn’t do very good research. I’ve tried and tried to get my son disability services (DDD) here in AZ and he gets turned down every time. You have up to the age of 18 to apply and funny how NO ONE throughout the years told me this. I did apply for him right before he turned 18, and since AZ has the most restrictive guidelines to get with their programs, it’s hard to get on. They may have the so called “best” but if you’re not able to qualify, well, then there may as well be NONE. The state of MD goes by FUNCTION and not strictly by diagnosis and I was told he would get services there (I have family in MD). The four diagnoses for services in AZ are cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, and mental retardation; word has it that the IQ score was LOWERED! So if you have an IQ of 69, and the max is 65–guess what-you’re not qualified (rumor has it). For autism, they don’t consider any of the spectrum disorders, and if you have mental illness with your autism, they’ll deny you saying it’s the mental illness making you act autistic! My friend’s son had cerebral palsy (he has since passed on) and she was able to get wonderful services. But I guess you have to be severe in any of the four diagnoses to get services otherwise, too bad for you.

  19. Mizz mezz says:

    All I can PROMISE you is Texas is a living nightmare.My son has been on this HCS program since the late 90′s. And since 07 , they have gotten so bad I do not even get gloves to clean him with ! he at this moment has NOTHING , the providers charge for Day hab that he does not even go to , and my sister had to buy his this moment we are getting NO help. and it has been since June of 2012. they even stold my son and took him to a group home! It took me a year to get him out , No help, the States right protecting officers are NOT for you . he brings a lot of money to them, I have Mega Police reports fro this place, he screamed to go home and they denied him.So he started dialing 911 . One tie just to go to the Pot cause the worker refused to put him on it. My son lost eye site in one eye ! we lost everything we had , even his medical transportation. they got in no trouble and my son almost died. And no one would even help get his things back. I HATE TEXAS , they are cruel and they are proud of it , Cause you DONT MESS WITH TEXAS! THEY ARE ALWAYS SUED BY THE doj , BUT NO ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE, SO THEY PAY A FINIE AND GO ON WITH THE ABUSE.THERE IS TO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THIS PLACE , DO NOT EVER ,EVER COME TO TEXAS .

  20. Denise Smith says:

    @ Glenn S. Asking for a handout…. that’s a silly comment. In Florida Gov. Scott has cut 15% to this population and more cuts are coming. Funding is cut for our children, but US continues to give funding people those individuals that wont or refuse to contribute to society, non- citizens, and people who have several children at taxpayers expenses. What’s really sad is the fact that private insurances offer less service.

  21. Lisa Hernandez says:

    I am glad to see the expressions of honesty on this page. I was on here looking at the rankings for that very reason; wanting to see where the services are better for my child than what we are getting in Florida! I have a 17 yr old daughter who has been allowed to withdraw herself from school, I can not enforce that she receive treatment for her bipolar disorder/ borderline personality disorder. I can not enforce she take meds. She is violent with me, my husband, and other small children and I can not enforce she go into residential treatment. I have services in my home but for what, no one helps me regain control of my house. This child is permitted to completely disrespect the entire family. Is it better anywhere else?? I’m not looking for a hand out! I’m looking for help at regaining my sanity!!

  22. Observer says:

    I noticed that Florida is 20. It’s odd, but my mom tells me that Florida has “absolutely nothing” for people with disabilities. I live in Illinois which is 48.

  23. Ceci says:

    I know this study is outdated, but we live in Arkansas and are extremely happy with the services our three year old daughter receives. She has a rare chromosome disorder, epilepsy, autism, global developmental delays, intellectual delays, etc. She started receiving therapies (OT, ST, PT, Aquatics, and Early Intervention) as soon as we noticed she was “behind” (12 months of age). She has aged out of EI but now receives developmental therapy thru our local school district (one of the best in the State – Lake Hamilton!!). She received TEFRA, which covered all her therapies, until we applied for SSI disability, which only took three months to get approved. She receives free diapers, I get gloves, pads for her mattress, all her therapies are covered, along with her medications, all the weekly trips to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and many other things. I guess my only complaint would be the 12-13 year waiting list for the Medicaid Waiver, but thankfully she is 3 and currently on the wait list, so hopefully when she is 18 she will be covered.

  24. claire says:

    we live in New Jersey, actually southern Jersey, close to Vineland. Near Atlantic City. My son has received good services OT,Speach therpy, PT over the years. Yes he received more therpies while he was younger and the state reduces therpy as they become older. I noticed this over the years and wondered why also. Over all we have received benefits as they say all handicapped children should receive what they need, I think they do in New Jersey, southern Jersey. But it all depends on what the parent is asking for or expecting from the school or day program providers. If your expectation is low or medium, they will give the necessary. It does take an insistant parent wanting more for their child, it really does. I’m not sure where New Jersey is on the list, maybe someone can let me know.. My son was injured just before the age of 3 in a local hospital now my son is 34 years old. I care for my son as I feel better knowing he is clean, feed and warm at night in his bed. I ask for Gods help on a daily basis, and God helps me all the time. Could not do this without Gods help. Its a pretty big job.

  25. Erica says:

    This is a reply to Glen S. I don’t know about you but when my FICA taxes were deducted for over 20 years for disability insurance who knew I would need it. I understand your sarcasm but until you are in someone else shoes give them the benefit of the doubt.

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