Tuesday is an important election in New Jersey. Unfortunately, an important issue to our family is not being talked about in the campaigns — the shortage of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), who enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like our daughter, to live safe, healthy and productive lives in the community.
A big reason there aren’t enough DSPs in New Jersey is because the pay is so low. Elected officials need to put money in the state budget for DSPs to get a raise. Currently, my husband works part time so that he can care for our daughter, who works part-time at the Arc of Monmouth Work Opportunity Center. She loves her job and does well. We know that with the support of the right DSP she can one day get her own apartment and work in the community, which would enable my husband to return to work full time.
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But how can we find a DSP we can trust to not only do this important job, but stay long term and not leave to make more money? Losing the comfort of a trusted DSP could cause significant setbacks to our daughter, jeopardizing her safety and well-being. New Jersey elected officials need to raise wages for DSPs now.
Lauren & Vance Zalepka