Background Facts on Virginia

  • Developmental disabilities are estimated to affect nearly 140,000 adults and children across the Commonwealth. This number includes the 71,500 adults and children over age 6 with an intellectual disability and the 1 in 91 children with an autism spectrum disorder (DBHDS, 2010)
  • Approximately 18,500 infants, toddlers, and young children (birth through age 5) have developmental delays requiring early intervention services. (DBHDS, 2010)
  • More than 6,100 Virginians with developmental disabilities are on waiting lists for community-based services. As of May 11, 2010, 5,311 individuals were on the Intellectual Disability (ID) Waiver waiting list (DBHDS, 2010) and 835 were on the Individual and Family Developmental Disability Support (IFDDS) Waiver waiting list (DMAS, 2010).
  • More than 50% (2,893) of individuals on the ID Waiver waiting list meet the Commonwealth’s “Urgent Need” criteria (DBHDS, 2010).
  • Over 17,000 Virginians with developmental disabilities are living at home with parents age 60 or over (Braddock, Hemp, & Rizzolo, 2008)
  • Despite being ranked top ten in the country for per capita income (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008), Virginia is ranked 46th in the country for its fiscal effort toward community-based services for people with developmental disabilities (Braddock, Hemp, & Rizzolo, 2008)
  • There are currently over 1,200 individuals living in Virginia’s five, state-run institutions. (DBHDS, 2010)
  • There are currently nearly 8,000 individuals living in Virginia communities with the support of the Intellectual Disability (ID) Medicaid Waiver. (DBHDS, 2010) Community-based services obtained through this Waiver are provided to individuals who have needs that are equivalent to (if not greater than) current Training Center residents. (Fortune & Auerbach, 2009)
  • The average cost of an ID Waiver is $67,000 per person per year ($95,000 for people on the ID Waiver who live in group homes), which is less than half the average cost of an institution, $194,000 per person per year. (DBHDS, 2009)
  • Virginia spends more than $250 million per year to keep 1,200 Virginians with intellectual disabilities in large, segregated state institutions. For the same cost, over 2,631 people could be receiving 24/hour, community-based supports through the ID Waiver.
  • If all families on the waiting lists were to “choose” an institution instead of continuing to wait for community services, it would cost the state more than $572 million per year, twice the cost of eliminating the waiting list all together.
  • Virginia is one of only 10 states that hasn’t closed a single institution. Eleven states have closed all of their state-operated institutions (Braddock, Hemp, & Rizzolo, 2008)


  • Braddock, D., Hemp, R., & Rizzolo, M. (2008). State of the States in Developmental Disabilities. Boulder: Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities.
  • DBHDS. (2009).
  • DBHDS. (2010, May 7). ID Waiver Waiting List Report. Richmond, Virginia: DBHDS.
  • DBHDS. (2010, March 3). Press Release: “March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Virginia”. Retrieved from DBHDS:
  • DMAS. (2010, May 11). IFDDS Waiver Waiting List Report. Richmond, VA.
    Fortune, J., & Auerbach, K. (2009). Information Brief: Virginia SIS Comparison for SEVTC and Comprehensive Community Waiver Populations. Portland: Human Services Research Institute.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. (2008). Personal Income Per Capita in Current Dollers. Retrieved May 22, 2010, from US Census Bureau:

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