Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders joined The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council at their Annual Legislative Reception where the Governor declared March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in honor of 40 years of success serving individuals with disabilities and their families.\n\n\u201cFor the first time in nearly 30 years, our Administration was proud to fully invest in critical programs, like Turning 22, to help people in Massachusetts living with disabilities receive an education, get a job, live independently and have access to critical services. This year\u2019s budget proposal adds even more money to these programs, and if approved, could help over 1,000 individuals,\u201d said Governor Charlie Baker.\u00a0 \u201cWe remain committed to making Massachusetts a leader in providing services and accessibility for youth and adults with developmental disabilities.\u201d \u00a0\n\nThe Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides critical services for more than 39,000 individuals in the Commonwealth and has focused on providing real employment opportunities for people with disabilities and increasing individuals\u2019 self-sufficiency to produce positive results.\n\nChapter 688 of the Acts of 1983 (the \u201cTurning 22\u201d law) serves as a critical bridge from educational support services into the adult human services program. The law provides for a two year transitional process for young adults who will lose their connection to special education upon graduation or reaching the age of 22.\n\nIn Fiscal Year 2018, the Baker-Polito Administration led efforts to fully fund the Turning 22 program at $23.1 million for the first time in nearly 30 years. The Administration\u2019s Fiscal Year 2019 budget funds Turning 22 at $25 million, an increase of almost $2 million over the FY18 appropriation, to continue fully-funding the program and meeting the needs of a class that is growing in size.\n\n\u201cWe continue to work closely with The Arc, the Legislature and other community leaders to support individuals with disabilities and their loved ones,\u201d said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. \u201cWe are committed to promoting a better quality of life for the individuals we serve and their families.\u201d\n\nDDS anticipates serving over 1,100 individuals in FY19\u2019s Turning 22 class, many of whom have complex medical and behavioral needs and will require residential placement.\n\nFor high-resolution and more photos, click here.