developmental disabilities

Miles Bryan

In late July President Obama signed the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act. The bill is designed to get people with disabilities working in commercial businesses, and get them out of service provider owned companies, known as “sheltered workshops.” State officials here in Wyoming are on board with these changes, but some providers say closing sheltered workshops will leave people with disabilities with few options.

Ark Regional Services

An effort to remove people off the Developmental Disability waiver waiting list by using savings from other parts of the program may take longer than previously thought.

So Governor Matt Mead is proposing putting 20 million dollars in the program.  Currently there are about 600 people hoping to get funding to help care for a family member with a brain injury or other disability. 

The Wyoming Department of Health has been given the task of cutting some 24 million dollars from the Developmental Disability waiver program.  

The goal would be redistribute that money to try and get services to nearly 600 people who remain on the waiting list.  The waiver program provides money to deliver services to people with disabilities. 

Those who object to the cuts say that the legislature should put more money into the system.  Senator Charles Scott of Casper says that request was denied, but could come up again in the future.    

Plans to fine-tune a major state Developmental Disabilities program will continue, but changes will occur gradually.  

The Home- and Community-Based Waivers program provides services from intensive supervision to help with a number of tasks. 

But nearly 600 people are on the waiting list for services, and the Department of Health has been ordered to reduce the waiting list, without spending more money. 

The Wyoming Department of Health has come up with a plan meant to increase the number of people who can receive services because of developmental disabilities.


The department’s Chris Newman says they currently provide extensive services, including around-the-clock care, for many individuals. But the waiting list to get those services is long. Now, they want to start providing a more limited array of services to people with less acute cases.

A group called Protection and Advocacy, which advocates for people with disabilities, has sent a letter to Wyoming, expressing concern over potential budget cuts for developmental disabilities.

Gov. Matt Mead has called for all agencies to prepare for 8 percent budget cuts. The Department of Health has not yet specified what it would cut, but Protection and Advocacy CEO Jeanne Thobro says she’s concerned that Wyomingites with developmental disabilities could lose vital services.