Delaware Passes Record-Setting $17.225 Million Funding Increase for Disability Services

This funding brings Direct Support Professionals 85% of the way toward the funding benchmark set by Delaware’s Division of Developmental Disabilities Services.

WILMINGTON, Del. — May 28, 2021 — Delaware’s Joint Finance Committee passed a record-breaking increase in the State’s budget for intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) services on Tuesday, May 26. The $17,225,400.00 commitment is the largest budget increase in a single fiscal year for I/DD services in Delaware and brings disability services closer to being fully funded.

“We’re grateful to the Joint Finance Committee, legislators, and all of the advocates who worked tirelessly to ensure this historic increase in funding for I/DD services,” said Thomas Cook, executive director of the Ability Network of Delaware. “In particular, the Ability Network of Delaware and its member organizations would like to thank Sen. Laura Sturgeon, Rep. Kevin Hensley, Rep. Kendra Johnson and Rep. Krista Griffith for their invaluable work and support on an issue that has a direct impact on the lives of so many Delawareans. We urge Governor Carney to approve the increase in funding when the budget bill reaches his desk.”

This funding takes Delaware’s rate system for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to 85 percent of the benchmark set by the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services in a 2019 rate study mandated by the McNesby Act—which passed unanimously in Delaware’s House and Senate in 2018. It also increases provider’s reimbursement rates for direct support professional services from $9.62 to $12.00 per hour.

“The collaboration among legislators, community services providers and the Ability Network of Delaware has been remarkable during this budget markup period,” said Cook. “This increase in funding is an important milestone on the path to fully funding services for intellectual and developmental disabilities in Delaware. We remind everyone that it will take another $21 million per year to fully fund services according to the 2019 study. These funds will be needed when the public health emergency expires in September 2022. If the June DEFAC budget estimates show continued improvements in the Delaware economy, we hope the General Assembly will consider closing that gap.”

Learn more about the McNesby Act and the effort to fully fund I/DD services at

About the Ability Network of Delaware By uniting and focusing on what we can achieve together, the Ability Network of Delaware (formerly DelARF) builds strength across Delaware’s disability community. We are a connecting force that functions as a statewide membership association of agencies, all working to support people with disabilities. Membership is open to organizations that provide direct services, advocacy and/or educational services to Delawareans with disabilities, their families and advocates.