PA Waiting List Campaign: Autism Initiative

Advocating for the elimination of waiting lists for community services for 14,000 people with Intellectual Disabilities.

We are committed to the development of a new program to eliminate waiting lists for people with Autism.

For over 17 years the PA Waiting List campaign has been educating families, government officials, the public and the legislators about the impact of waiting lists on the health, safety and welfare of people with intellectual disabilities. We began a targeted effort to highlight the needs of students from high school. Students were transitioning from schools at 21, and graduating to nothing. Family life was disrupted because the care and supervision necessary for their adult was not available. Through our efforts we have successfully had a waiting list initiative to serve all 700 students who graduate each year.

We also targeted the needs of the elderly caregivers in Pennsylvania. Families have provided the care, love and support for their loved ones over a lifetime. We were successful in having legislators designate funding the past two years for 800 families.

Through our focused efforts we have successfully brought the waiting list from a record high of nearly 25,000 people to 14,000 people waiting for services.

PA Waiting List Campaign: Autism Initiative

The PA Waiting List Campaign would like to initiate a statewide advocacy effort to obtain home and community based services for adults with autism. Currently, the Bureau of Autism Services supports fewer than 600 people, has an “interest list” of approximately 1,200 people and their census data shows a tremendous number of individuals who need services now and in the future. Here is the data published on the Department of Human Services’s autism website:

Numbers in PA: Transition to Adulthood

2013: 8,395 adults with autism in PA

2015: 13,998 adults with autism in PA

2020: 31,075 adults with autism in PA

2030: 76,041 adults with autism in PA

The Waiting List Campaign would like to launch an Autism Initiative to connect with families and adults with autism who need services, develop a database of autism organizations and families across the commonwealth who need information about the autism system, and provide support to the autism community to collectively advocate for increased access to services.

The PA Waiting List Campaign is passionate about advocating for the needs of individuals with intellectuals disabilities and their families. We would like to build on our success by expanding our efforts to include the autism community.

We Can! We Will! We Must End the Wait!

Donate to the Autism Initiative


Governor Wolf’s Proposed Budget

Governor Wolf released his proposal for the State Budget on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Here are the budget amounts in state dollars the Governor is proposing for the Office of Developmental Programs. Note that these numbers are a proposal from the Governor and that the General Assembly needs to pass a final budget in the next few months.

State Center funding will increase by 6.2%, or $8.195 million.

Intermediate Care Facilities will increase by 2.4%, or $3.666 million.

Intellectual Disabilities – Base Funding will increase by 2.7%, or $4.034 million. This includes an increase to restore a portion of the funding that was cut in Fiscal Year 2012/2013 when the block grant pilot program was implemented. Additional funding will be added over three years to offset the cuts.

Intellectual Disabilities – Community Waiver Program will be increased by 12.7%, or $136.701 million. This includes:

  • $12.880 million increase to annualize the cost of the current years’ Waiting List initiative.
  • $18.878 million increase for a Waiting List initiative to serve 1,000 more people who are on the intellectual disabilities waiting list or who are students graduating from special education.
  • $952,000 increase to support 75 people to move out of the State Centers and into the community.
  • $28.243 million for increases in services and costs for people currently enrolled in the program.
  • $18.699 million increase for the cost of the Settlement Agreement between the Provider Associations and the State regarding payments for Group Homes.

Autism Services funding will increase by 1.8%, or $341,000. This includes an initiative to provide services for 50 individuals on the “Interest List”.

This is the first step in the Budget process. The House and Senate Appropriation Committees will hold hearings this month regarding the Governor’s proposed budget, including these proposals for funding. Over the next few months, there will be much discussion and debate about the State Budget within the House and Senate. The Waiting List Campaign will be meeting with key elected officials to educate them on waiting lists and their impact on people with disabilities and families.

How Many Are Waiting?

As of January 31, 2015


Emergency Needs Category = 4,595

Critical Needs Category = 5,763

Planning Needs Category = 3,663

If you or your family member are on the Waiting List and would like to share your story with legislators, please contact us about participating in our Legislative visits this spring.

www.pawaitinglistcampaign.org Phone: 267-765-0301

The PA Waiting List Campaign is a program of Vision for Equality and funded by PA Disability Rights Network.



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ISAC:Information-Sharing Advisory Committee

Sheila Stasko-Statewide Coordinator will represent the Pa Waiting List Campaign on this group.


Special Alert: Benefit Change Letters Mailed to 800,000 Current Adult Medicaid Enrollees

Click Here for More Information



Click Here-ODP Futures Planning Information


News for Immediate Release – Sept. 24, 2014

Governor Corbett Signs Bill Changing Department of Public Welfare’s Name to Department of Human Services

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed House Bill 993, officially changing the name of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to the Department of Human Services. The bill also establishes a tip line for recipient and provider fraud.

“The time has come to bring the Department of Public Welfare into a new era of assisting Pennsylvanians,” DPW Secretary Beverly Mackereth said. “Helping families in need secure heat, food and other necessities is just a fraction of the human services work performed here in the department.”

The department has more than 16,000 employees and oversees 94 county assistance offices statewide. It also oversees adoption services, child protection services, juvenile justice facilities, state hospitals, long-term care, early childhood education, child support, Medicaid, employment and training services, mental health, and supports for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, among other things.

“For the past several years, advocates, families, legislators, and providers have diligently worked to make this change happen,” Mackereth said. “Our new name will reflect the services and supports our agency currently provides to individuals and their families.”

The new law will officially take effect in November, with a phased-in approach and measured transition to the new name beginning at that time. The department will replace deliverables, such as letterhead and business cards, as needed and integrate necessary system changes with scheduled upgrades to effectuate the change in the most cost-effective manner possible.

“While our name may be changing, I can assure you, our commitment to assisting our most vulnerable population is unwavering and our current services will remain intact,” Mackereth concluded.

For more information, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us.

Media contact: Kait Gillis, 717-425-7606


Pennsylvania’s ID Waiting List includes those receiving none or only some of the services and supports outlined in their Individual Support Plan (ISP). Based on need, people fall into emergency, critical, or planning status on the Waiting List.

The PA Waiting list Campaign is working everyday to end that wait. Use our website to find information about the waiting list, learn how to make a difference and find out what is going on and what is done to End the Wait.