Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Jul 27, 2015, 13:30 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twenty-five years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ushered in a new era of increased protections and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and guarantees them equal rights.

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) celebrates this milestone and the approximately 1.7 million Pennsylvanians with disabilities whose quality of life it helped improve.

"At the heart of the ADA is the idea that the places we all share are for everyone -- whether you are a person living with disability or not," said DHS Secretary Dallas. "This powerful idea has helped the Department improve the quality of life for millions of Pennsylvanians and millions more across the country over the past 25 years and we all are all better off as a result.  While we still have work to do, we have made a great deal of progress since ADA became law."

Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, Pennsylvania has increased spending on community-based supports by $4.6 billion that help individuals living mental illness and physical and intellectual disabilities to live in the community – an increase of 766 percent. DHS has also dramatically decreased the number of Pennsylvanians living in facilities or institutions and increased the number living in the community.

The following chart shows the increases in services offered by the Department since the passage of the ADA:


Number of individuals served in 1990

Number of individuals served in 2015

Attendant Care Waiver for mentally alert Pennsylvanians with physical disabilities

None. Approved in 1995


Independence Waiver for persons with physical disabilities to allow them to live in the community and live as independently as possible

None. Approved in 1997


COMMCARE, home- and community-based program developed for individuals who experienced traumatic brain injury

None. Approved in 2002


OBRA Waiver for persons with severe developmental physical disabilities

None. Approved in 1992


Consolidated Waiver to help persons with intellectual disabilities to stay in the community



Person/Family Directed Support Waiver provides services to persons with intellectual disabilities

None. Approved in 1999


Adult Autism Waiver for community-based services and supports to meet the specific needs of adults with autism spectrum disorders

None. Approved in 2008


"We are proud of the collaboration and progress realized in improving the lives of individuals living with disabilities over the past 25 years, and we will continue striving to fulfill the ADA's mission every day," Secretary Dallas said. "None of it would have been possible without the help and partnership of the people that we serve, and for that we are especially grateful."

For more information, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Kait Gillis, 717-425-7606


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Human Services