Do you have first-hand experience of how important Direct Support Professionals are in your life or the life of your loved-one, friend, neighbor, or co-worker?
Are you a DSP who has struggled to make a living while providing support, care, and companionship for individuals and intellectual/developmental disabilities?
Are you a provider organization representative who recognizes that none of the support you strive to offer individuals with I/DD and their families would be possible without a dedicated and well-trained Direct Support staff?
If any of these apply to you, we want to hear from you! In the space below, tell us more about why DSPs are so important, and what you would like to see done to allow them to thrive in this critically important profession.
The Biggest problem in the Disability Community
I am a person who likes to tell it like it is, I hope this post can shed some light on one of the biggest issues affecting the disability community. It’s one of those things that can get overlooked if your life does not depend on it, the General Public will never see this as a major issue because they are never affected by it. I am talking about the major lack of direct support professionals(DSP”s) in the state of New Jersey and pretty much every other state in the Union. In my personal opinion, I feel this issue has reached craziest levels everyone I know in the disability community ether looking for or worried about keeping their direct. support professional.
The people who are affected by this issue the most are parents, the individual themselves, and direct support professional of course. The facts is no parent can be around their child all day. The parent needs to be able to trust someone with their child, it is so hard to do this when you know the turnover rate is so high. Just imagine trying to learn to trust someone new every six months( if you’re lucky.) With the person you care more about than anyone else in the world. For the individual it can be heartbreaking to know they will lose their best friend and the person who is help them with the most intimate parts of their own lives. Imagine trying to tell someone how to give you a bath on their first day. The person that gets overlooked the most is the professional themselves. They enter a job where they have little to no knowledge of the person who’s life they will be caring for in almost every way. There is almost no chance for growth. The pay is stagnant, with little to no benefits to take care of themselves or their families
Usually and hopefully the person does this job has a good heart and does their job with love and care. The truth is most people do this job for a steady paycheck, until they get burned out for lack of benefits. Then they move on to another company that does the same thing, in the hope of receiving a dollar more.
I am asking for Advocates and Families to contact elected officials to bring 2 length this major issue that affects all of us in the disability communityTo ask for a fair wage and or our benefits package so we don’t lose the people who helped us live our lives.
August 17, 2017
Action Alert: An Update from the Steering Committee
As the funding for DSPs makes its way through the budget process, we want to make sure you remain informed about the most recent updates. With that in mind, we want you to know that the Joint Budget Oversight Committee unanimously passed a resolution yesterday. This resolution directs the Office of Management and Budget to make the necessary calculations that will result in distribution of these funds. This was a procedural, but important and required step and we were glad to see JBOC support this matter.
Please know that we continue to work with leaders in the Legislature on this issue so that funds are made available to DSPs as soon as possible. We will provide additional updates in the weeks to come.
July 26, 2017
ACTION ALERT:A Message from the Steering Committee
Following the news of our recent budget victory, we have received a number of questions regarding the $20 million line item and when we expect this funding will be available to the State’s Direct Support Professional workforce. With this in mind, we thought it important to share with you an update and some additional information about how the budgeting process works.
July 12, 2017
ACTION ALERT: Action Alert-Call Senate President Sweeney
Dear Coalition Members,
Now that a few days have passed since Governor Christie signed the FY18 Budget, it’s important that we take the time to recognize and thank those that were so pivotal to our recent victory. No legislator fought harder for the $20 million line item to increase wages for our Direct Support Professionals than Senate President Sweeney. Not only did he ensure funding was added to the Budget, he did everything in his power to protect the funding from a line-item veto. With this in mind, please take a moment this week to call Senate President Sweeney’s district office and thank him for all of his hard work. Obtaining money to increase wages was by no means an easy battle. It’s important that we show our appreciation for those who helped us in our fight.
Chair of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage
July 4, 2017
ACTION ALERT: DSP Coalition Secures $20 Million to Increase DSP Wages
I am thrilled to report that the final Budget document, signed very early this morning by the Governor, includes $20 million to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals! This is an outstanding victory and the product of many months of hard work, collaboration, and advocacy. The Coalition for a DSP Living Wage would like to thank everyone who participated in our action alerts, forwarded our materials, came out to our lobbying day in Trenton and shared our posts on social media. This was not an easy battle, but the developmental disability community came together and together, we were able to make a difference.
June 27, 2017
ACTION ALERT: Take Action Now-Call Speaker Prieto
The Budget must be signed by June 30th and the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage must do everything in our power to ensure an increase for Direct Support Professionals in Fiscal Year 2018. Toward that end, we need your help. An increase for Direct Support Professionals is included in the Budget bill, but we need to make sure it stays in! The Senate and Assembly will vote on Thursday, so we need you to act now!
June 26, 2017
ACTION ALERT: Advocate for DSPs During Tonight
Governor Christie will be a guest tonighton “Ask the Governor” and we need you to call into the program and urge him to support an increased wage for Direct Support Professionals in the FY18Budget. With only four days left in the fiscal year, this is an excellent opportunity to bring attention to the issue on live radio!
June 23, 2017
ACTION ALERT: Assembly Budget Members Need to Hear from You
Legislative leadership in the Senate reached a Budget deal with Governor Christie and we can confidently report that deal includes $20 million to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals! Here’s where we need your help: The Assembly does not support the Senate’s Budget deal with the Governor, which includes a number of other negotiated funding priorities, and we need to rally the Assembly’s support for what the Senate has proposed.
June 5, 2017
ACTION ALERT: DSP Coalition Comes Out in Force for Wage Increase
June 1, 2017
ACTION ALERT: On Twitter Thursday – Tell Legislators to #PayFair4DirectCare
May 3, 2017
ACTION ALERT: Thank you for your Advocacy
The Coalition for a DSP Living Wage would like to thank all the individuals, organizations, self-advocates, direct support professionals, and family members who joined us at the State House for the Department of Human Services testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee this past Monday. We filled the room and conveyed to both the Department and the Legislature that the DSP wage issue affects so many people living in New Jersey. We are very grateful for your support and we hope you will join us again at the State House on Thursday, May 11th.
May 1, 2017
ACTION ALERT: We Need Your Help
April 26, 2017
ACTION ALERT-Join Us at the State House
April 5, 2017
ACTION ALERT-Budget Chairs