Press Release

Press Release Healey-Driscoll Administration Proposes $240 Million Investment in Department of Developmental Services Programs

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Proposes $240 Million Investment in Department of Developmental Services Programs

Cecille Joan Avila, Media Relations Manager

NORTHAMPTON, MASecretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh today joined Commissioner of Disability Services Jane Ryder and local municipal and legislative leaders on a visit to DDS-supported programs to highlight key funding for disability services in the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s FY24 budget proposal. On a tour of Pathlight’s Milestones Day Program, Family Empowerment Center, and Autism Connections Support Center, as well as ServiceNet’s Rooster Cafe, Secretary Walsh and Commissioner Ryder met with staff and program participants to discuss the impact of this critical funding on day and employment supports.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration’s FY24 budget proposal, announced last week, allocates over $240 million toward Department of Developmental Services (DDS) day and work programs and allocates an additional $204.5 million in annualized rate increases to support the direct care workforce. The budget proposal also allocates $98 million to DDS Family Support and Respite services, in addition to increasing funding toward DDS adult autism services to $52.5 million next fiscal year.

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to ensuring Massachusetts residents with disabilities have the services they need, whether that be day and residential programs or skill-building and professional tools,” said Secretary Walsh. “Today’s visit to Pathlight and ServiceNet provided a glimpse of the real-world impact of these critical services, which ensure that participants are not just supported, but uplifted. Our Administration is proud to invest in these programs because we know the value of person-centered, coordinated care – and will continue to make it a priority.”

“DDS day and supported employment programs provide vital skills, educational opportunities and enrichment to ensure all of our 7,000 individuals served within Community Based Day Supports (CBDS) services are actively engaged members of their community doing what interests them,” said Commissioner Ryder. “Challenges of the last few years have fueled creativity and innovation in how we are approaching the delivery of these services. For example, integrating the use of assistive technologies to increase an individual’s independence, focusing on more community-based over site-based programming, among others. These investments made by the Healey-Driscoll Administration will support our efforts in building a more flexible, person-centered and integrated service models for the 43,000 individuals and families we serve across the Commonwealth.”     

Pathlight and ServiceNet each provide an array of community-based day and employment support activities. These activities focus on participants’ interests and goals through a variety of activities, vocational instruction, and skill building, all of which ensures each participant’s meaningful and engaged participation within their community. 

Pathlight’s Milestones Program serves individuals with varying support needs and features skill-building and activities that are focused on each individual’s goals, interests, and service needs. Pathlight’s Family Empowerment Center, located at the same site, offers a range of family support services and activities, including respite. The program also links families to additional local services and resources in both the Franklin and Hampshire Counties. Pathlight’s Autism Connections Support Center serves hundreds of families throughout western Massachusetts by connecting parents, professionals, and schools, and offers social skills trainings, support groups, and helps build community awareness.

ServiceNet’s Rooster Café is a sister program of their Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield. It employs former CBDS participants from the Farm to run varying aspects of the Café using seasonal produce from the farm. Prospect Meadow Farm serves over 60 individuals in CBDS and employment supports, with the Café typically supporting five staff. Many participants have developed culinary and customer service job skills that have led to other job opportunities in the community.

Further information on DDS, its day and employment services, and the variety of other supports provided can be found at


Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Proposes $240 Million Investment in Department of Developmental Services Programs

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 11 agencies and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

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