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Ranking Names Best States For Disability Services


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Arizona came in first in a nationwide ranking of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Shutterstock)

Arizona came in first in a nationwide ranking of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Shutterstock)

An annual ranking of states offering the best services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities reveals a familiar but evolving landscape.

The analysis of disability services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia being released Thursday by United Cerebral Palsy finds top performers spanning the map. In previous years, the best services were largely clustered in the Northeast and West.

Arizona claimed the number one slot in the ranking for the third year in a row. Also rounding out the 10 best on this year’s list are Michigan, Hawaii, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Missouri.

The analysis factors each state’s approach to promoting independence and productivity, ensuring quality and safety, keeping families together and reaching people in need.

Nationally, almost 317,000 people remain on waiting lists for home and community-based services, according to the report, which is largely based on data from 2012, the most recent year available.

Some 38 states serve at least 80 percent of people with developmental disabilities in the community. Meanwhile, just 10 states have one-third or more of their residents with developmental disabilities working in competitive employment, the report found.

As in past years, top-tier services were found in both big and small states, those with rich and poor demographics, jurisdictions with high and low taxes as well as those with varying levels of per-person spending on disability services.

The report flags Arkansas, Illinois, Texas and Mississippi — which ranked last for the eighth year in a row — for repeatedly coming in at or near the bottom of the list.

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Comments (62 Responses)

  1. InMaryland says:

    I’m a 45 year old who has been living with a serious medical condition for 33 years. I also have depression and bi-polar. I have lived in a couple of places and in Maryland for the past 5 years. What I have witnessed here in regards to health care, supportive services, therapy, counseling, case management, nutrition support, etc is outstanding. I read through many of the comments and wanted to let others know if your medical and supportive needs are not being met in the state you currently reside in, I give a very high recommendation for the State of Maryland. And I wish everyone the very best of success in their search for adequate services.

  2. Esther says:

    I have been looking into GA because it was dated #4. I have looked online I can’t confirm yet but I have found several links for daycare centers for the disabled. My son is 12. Is there any positive things in GA? I am in Il we have nothing!!!!

  3. Melissa says:

    Esther, I have lived in GA for 14 years with my severely disabled daughter. I’m not sure where in GA you have been looking but I can tell you that where I am at there is NOTHING. We are looking into moving so that we can get services for my daughter (who is 14 right now). We got lucky to find a great medical supply company that is only 45 minutes away (and will deliver to us the same day if we need it) but there are no therapists in our area. My daughter needs PT, OT, and SLP but we have to drive at least 2 hours each way to get it. We have to drive at least an hour and a half to see specialists but even some of those are mediocre at best.

  4. Renee says:

    I am in NY. I have a son who is autistic and is 21. Services here in NY are top notch! Because of this my son graduated high school and is in college. Dr’s told us they weren’t sure he would ever speak!

  5. Karen Richrdson says:

    I will agree that AZ is very good at providing services as far as transportation and social activities, but I would put them dead last in the area of providing home care services! The fact that people had to sue for diapers is appalling! Simply appalling! I came into this state from PA where I wanted for nothing! However, I’d rank PA dead last in the areas of trans. and social activities! So, it’s a toss up!

  6. Arizona mom says:

    Totally agree with you Karen R.
    I cannot fathom who ranked AZ as number 1! A lot of passing the buck here in AZ and spinning your wheels. I have been straight up told by behavioral health that there is just no services for kids on the ASD spectrum. Yet we here all this ranting and reviving about early intervention. My private insurance has paid for 95% of therapies and services.

  7. StressedSister says:

    I have a 26 year old sister who was born with a cognitive disorder. She has microcephaly and has many cognitive and physical delays. We are originally from Michigan. Services in Michigan were WONDERFUL. I guess we were very spoiled and didn’t realize it wasn’t like that all over the country. I moved to Texas, to get away from the cold..and my mother and younger sister soon followed me to Texas. Texas is the TOTAL OPPOSITE. It’s horrible how they treat my sister. She can’t hardly get any services and we even have a hard time getting medical treatment for her. It has been such an uphill battle. Although I love my job here-I am considering moving for the sake of my sister’s health. This list has been very helpful! Thank you for writing it. It helps me to make a informed decision. My mother is already disabled, herself due to a car accident. So, I don’t want her having unnecessary stress on her. Thank you, again, for this article. :)

  8. Zoraida says:

    Renee where in NY do you live? I live in Florida and here eventhough we do have services it is very difficult to come by. There are no programs for the children who have become adults. After HS there is nothing here for them. I was planning on going back to NY where I am from. I have 2 developmental disabled daughters who are also autistic.

  9. inAZandregret it says:

    I have a hard time believing this post, I currently live in a AZ with a disabled child and can not get her services. The paperwork is massive, in the meantime while everything is “pending” we either have to pay out of pocket or forego things she needs all together, and the local department of economic services plays these games with anyone requesting services. In the next year more of our services will be cut, so even if I “win” my pending cases, my services will be cut anyways. In fact at her school most of the children receive services from other places because they are also being denied by DES. I know in richer cities it’s easier, but for the rest of us the outlook is sad.

  10. Deb Klejeski says:

    Hi, I have considered moving my son and I out of MN after I retire and am considering Florida or Arizona. He is 39 living in a GH and want to know can I seek positive- above average services for him else where even if he was not born into that State. He has been diagnosed with Joubert’s Syndrome- Brown’s Syndrome- is non verbal and has aggression (the worst of his difficulties), but very loving. Mentally he has been tested and ranks around 2 years old mentally with splintered skills but needs 24/7 care. Does any one know would I be placing him at risk for change.


  11. kathy says:

    Our daughter is deaf and developmentally delayed. We currently live in NE Indiana. My husband is military disabled. We are looking to move where it would be beneficial for our daughter. Any ideas? She is 12 now we are just looking for something better for her.

  12. Jay Nelson says:

    South Carolina??? This is listed above as a ‘good’ state for disabilities and benefits. It is one of the WORST states for any benefits, especially housing! Do NOT move there for any help with anything at all. The state is BROKE and can’t feed its own.

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