About Us: The Commissioner's Message
Welcome to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
Our Commonwealth now benefits from a new agency, DARS. The agency was created by merging the former Department of Rehabilitative Services and Department for the Aging. In 2013, the adult services units from Virginia’s Department of Social Services will become part of DARS. DARS’ merger was proposed by Gov. McDonnell and took effect July 1 to provide and advocate for the highest quality of services to help older Virginians and those with disabilities to maximize and secure their employment, independence and full inclusion into society and guide the Commonwealth in preparing for an aging population.
At the state level, this new agency will work with its community partners to be more effective in strategic planning, budgeting, program monitoring and evaluation and training and technical support. The agency will be at the center of the Commonwealth's response to two critical emerging issues.
First, many Virginians who are often referred to as “boomers” or “seniors” are in, or are approaching, their retirement years. They rightly expect to be secure in their efforts to age in place and to have safe options for their long-term care needs. DARS will be there for them.
Secondly, Virginia is also committed to having livable communities for those Virginians with disabilities who are transitioning from institutions to community settings or those who wish to live and work with long-term supports and services. DARS will also be there in support of their new choices.
In just two decades, one in five Virginians will be over age 65. Today at least one in every 100 adults age 60 or older lives with a lifelong disability, totaling more than 10,000 people in the Commonwealth – a number expected to triple in the next decade. Recognizing the coming “Age Wave,” the VDA and its partners updated Virginia’s Four-Year Plan for Aging Services. Another initiative, The Blueprint for Livable Communities, focuses on accessible and affordable transportation, housing and other support services to facilitate independence and helping Virginians – regardless of their age or abilities – stay in their communities.
Your new agency, DARS, will work with these individuals and their families to realize this vision of increased options for adults and a true Commonwealth of Opportunity for all.
—Jim Rothrock, Commissioner