After many months of advocacy, I am pleased to report that the final FY19 Budget signed late last night by Governor Murphy includes $20 million in increased funding for Direct Support Professionals. Your support and dedication made this outcome a reality, and so we thank you for attending hearings, contacting legislators, participating in action alerts, and spreading our #PayFair4DirectCare message on social media.
It is important to note that although the Coalition advocated solely for funds to go through the Department of Human Services, the final budget includes the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development as part of the $20 million appropriations. However, unlike last year, the Coalition was able to change the budget language and so the DHS portion of the funds this time is directed into the rates.
Changing the rates will be a process and one that we will update you about in the weeks and months ahead. The actual distribution of money will not occur immediately and although funding was secured, altering the rates will take time. Please know that as soon as we have additional information and/or a timeline for distribution, we will be sure to alert you to that news.
Securing an appropriation in the budget is not an easy feat and we are grateful to the Legislature and the Governor for recognizing the tremendous work of our Direct Support Professional workforce and the need to address their wages. While I hope everyone takes some time to enjoy the summer, please know that there’s more work ahead and we intend to keep fighting this fight for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and the DSPs who make life in the community a reality for this population.
Thank you again for being a part of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage. Enjoy the upcoming holiday and keep a look out for more updates in the weeks to come.
Chair of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage