Michigan's Family Support Subsidy Act set the pace in 1983. The Act provided for monthly payments to families with children with severe disabilities.

The program focused on reducing out-of-home placements. By 1998, 21 states reported using cash subsidies and another five developed new subsidy programs providing families with more flexibility and discretion in how their family support funds are spent.

From 1986 to 1990 funding for family support programs almost tripled (in 1998 adjusted dollars, funding increased from just of $100 million in 1986 to just under $300 million in 1990).

The number of families increased dramatically as well – approximately 60,000 in 1986 to 150,000 in 1990.

Child receiving assistance from father
Photo courtesy Charyl Walsh-Bellville