State of Denial

Inside Arizona’s Division of Developmental Disabilities

Arizona’s services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are supposed to be the best in the country. But the state is failing to deliver. ProPublica and the Arizona Daily Star are working to make stories accessible. You can read the stories in plain language and Spanish and listen to audio versions.

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What’s Your Experience With Intellectual and Developmental Disability Care in Arizona?

The Arizona Daily Star and ProPublica are investigating services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here's how people with disabilities, their families, friends, caregivers, teachers and medical providers can help.

Other Entries

People with Developmental Disabilities Were Promised Help. Instead, They Face Delays and Denials.

Arizona is known as the best state in the nation for people with developmental challenges. But its Division of Developmental Disabilities has turned down thousands of people who seek assistance because of paperwork issues.

Editors’ Note: Why We Investigated the Treatment of People With Developmental Disabilities

Arizona’s treatment of people with developmental disabilities is important because it impacts tens of thousands of people. But for us, it’s also personal.

He Has a Developmental Disability and Needs a Caretaker. The State Suggested Diapers Instead.

Even if you qualify for the highest level of services, you still might not get the care you need as a person with developmental disabilities in Arizona. The challenges for families can be immense.

She Needs a Device to Communicate. The State Has Kept it From Her for 18 Months.

Emory, 11, has cerebral palsy and uses an augmentative communication device to talk to her friends. One day, her mother turned it on and smoke came out. “They make it so hard for families that they give up.”

“I Thought Arizona Was Rated High for Disability Services, But That Is Wrong.”

Tyler Stumpf wants to live in the community and work with animals. His mother says the state of Arizona is not doing nearly enough to help.

Arizona Promised to Help People With Developmental Disabilities. But Some Had to Wait a Long Time. Some Did Not Get Help at All.

Arizona is known as the best state for people with developmental disabilities. But the Division of Developmental Disabilities has told many people they can’t have what they need. Sometimes it’s just because their paperwork is wrong.

Editors’ Note: Why We Wrote about the Way People With Developmental Disabilities Get Treated

How Arizona treats people with developmental disabilities is important. It affects a lot of people. It is personal for us too.

How We Wrote the Story

We talked to many people and read a lot of paperwork to make this story.

He Has a Developmental Disability. He Needs a Helper. Arizona Said He Could Wear Diapers Instead.

Some people with developmental disabilities get a lot of services. But they still might not have everything they need. Their families have a hard time when they don’t have enough help.

She Needs a Device to Talk to People. Arizona Has Not Given It to Her. It Has Been 1.5 Years.

Emory is 11 years old. She has cerebral palsy. She uses a device to talk to her friends. One day, her mom turned it on and smoke came out. She said, “They make it so hard for families that they give up.”

“I Thought Arizona Was Rated High for Disability Services, But That Is Wrong.”

Tyler Stumpf wants to live in the community. He wants to work with animals. His mom says Arizona is not helping him do that.

Prometieron ayuda para las personas con discapacidades de desarrollo. En lugar de recibirla, enfrentan retrasos y rechazos.

Arizona se conoce como el mejor lugar del país para las personas con discapacidades de desarrollo. Sin embargo, debido a problemas con sus trámites, el estado ha rechazado a miles de personas que buscan asistencia.

Community Storytelling Is Informing Our Coverage of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services. Share Your Story.

Journalists have not always brought people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the conversation. We’re trying to change that with our investigation into Arizona’s disability services. But we need your help.

Arizonans: Share Your Story About Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at our Virtual Event

The Arizona Daily Star and ProPublica want to hear about your experiences with intellectual and developmental disabilities services. Join storytelling coaches, journalists and the Detour Company Theatre on July 8 to get involved.

Intellectual Disability Service Providers Want to Protect Clients. The State Isn’t Telling Them How.

Bars, restaurants, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have closed or are practicing social distancing in Arizona. But group homes and other programs have received little guidance, putting people with intellectual disabilities at risk.

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