Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday that Family Care, the state’s long-term care program for individuals with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, will extend its services into northeast Wisconsin.

The extension into Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto and Shawano Counties could reduce long-term care costs in the area by $34.7 million over the next 10 years, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“This is a win-win for the entire state, and people who are aging or who have physical or developmental disabilities,” Walker said.  “The expansion of this program allows more people to stay in their homes, where they prefer to be. By extending Family Care services, they can have a better quality of life, more independence, and they can avoid the expense of moving into a nursing home before it’s necessary.”

Wisconsin Counties Association Director Mark O’Connell applauded the expansion of the program, welcoming the extension of services already enjoyed by 57 other counties in the state.

O’Connell said extensive planning and preparation should make for a smooth transition as Family Care expands.

“Gov. Walker’s announcement today is met with great appreciation,” O’Connell said. “Long-term care services critical to our state’s most vulnerable residents will soon be available without waiting lists in more counties.”

The Legislature directed the Department of Health Services to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of long-term care in the state in the 2013-15 budget, according to a statement from Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay.

The analysis found the state could benefit financially from expanding Family Care by consolidating multiple services already offered in the northeastern counties.

“Residents of Northeastern Wisconsin have their tax dollars fund this program for 57 other counties, while they are hard-pressed to get long-term care services for their needs,” Cowles said. “This is about fairness, and I applaud the governor for expanding the program to bring services for the nearly 1,600 residents currently on waiting lists in Northeastern Wisconsin.”