Despite years of warnings about the impending crisis in the Direct Support Workforce, no significant efforts have been made to address the problem.  Immediate action is now required in order to protect health and safety, avoid abuse and neglect, and stabilize and build the workforce necessary to provide care.  Please watch this video for an accurate and compelling depiction of how this crisis is affecting individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and the direct support workers who are their lifelines.
WATCH VIDEO-The Cost of Compassion
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Ask yourself.....


     What if I was dependent on someone else to care for                    me and support me through each and every                                  day........and there was no one there?

             What if my ability to navigate the world was                                    limited......and there was no one to help?

                   What if through no fault of my own my lifelong
                                   survival was in the hands of a series                                                     of strangers?


How scared would you be?


I've been looking for six months
....I still can't find somebody
.....That frustrates me more than anything,  I have the funding, but I don't have the people.
 You can't just throw money at this problem .....if you don't have the workforce behind it to fill it.
                                                                                  S,  Mom


Individuals with developmental disabilities rely everyday on Direct Support Workers to provide the assistance they need. Whether that assistance takes place in a day program or employment situation, a group home, a family home, or their own home, it is the most important factor in their lives.  Direct Support Workers are the people who put food in their mouths, interpret often atypical communication, and facilitate interaction in their communities as well as guarantee their health and safety.  

Trained, accessible Direct Support Workers assure the dignity, quality of life, and survival of individuals with developmental disabilties.

At some point in their children's lives, family caregivers can no longer be the primary caregivers for their children with developmental disabilities.  Whether parents are caring for adults with significant needs or adults with minimal needs for support, the day will come when they cannot be the loving hands and kind voices there for them no matter what.   The wear and tear of years of physical care, dealing with intense behavioral issues, and their own health and aging issues demand that families make plans to meet the lifelong needs of their children.

Skilled, compassionate Direct Support Workers allow families to trust that their loved ones could survive in this world without them.

The Direct Support Workforce is currently in crisis.  A workforce adequate in capacity and skill to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and complex population does not exist.  Record vacancy and turnover is threatenting the health and safety of individuals with developmental disabilities.


For DETAILS about the crisis, click here.
To explore SOLUTIONS, click here.
For information on how YOU CAN HELP, click here.

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From  J,  Mom of two sons with severe autism

“Agencies haven’t been able to help.  I went through three agencies....nobody.  I told them I’d take any hours they could give me, even in the middle of the night.  S doesn’t sleep anyway.  And still they couldn’t find anyone.”  They have funding for respite services but the provider has not been able to find anyone to cover the hours.  "They looked for years.  It took half a year (with another provider) and they found someone.  But the person could only come on Sundays.  We took it....because that’s what you have to do, settle.  Hopefully, eventually they’ll find someone.  But it’s been years.”  


From C, sibling of a gentleman with Downs Syndrome
 
C's brother has enough funding to cover aides, but she says that consistency, communication, and reliability are a problem.  Reliability caused the family to have to let someone go and it took four months to find someone new.   “I can’t tell you how many times someone comes for an interview....we’d meet with them...explain what they have to do...but every single time within 24 hours we’d get a message...they have car trouble, they’re moving to Portugal... really? 

  
From G. Mom of a young woman with severe, multiple disabilities
 
“In the last three years we’ve only had four people apply to fill a vacant position.  One quit after one day.  She said it was too much for her.....after one day?  I've been doing this for thirty years.  Another didn’t show for her first shift and wouldn’t answer phone calls.  Another quit before her first shift. And, the last didn’t show for the interview.  The person that they were replacing quit by text with twelve hours notice after calling out repeatedly in prior weeks.  We’ve contacted four providers to ask for them to help us with staffing.  Two couldn’t find anyone and the other two wouldn’t work with us because they are having trouble finding staff for their own programs.”
  



  
 

  

Families speak:

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