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Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published August 30, 2013

CARDIN, COLLINS LEAD SENATE RECOGNITION OF DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2013

CONTACTS:

Sue Walitsky (Cardin) 202-224-4524

Kevin Kelley (Collins) 202-224-2523

 

CARDIN, COLLINS LEAD SENATE RECOGNITION OF DIRECT SUPPORT

PROFESSIONALS

 

Improving Quality of Life and Keeping People Connected to Family and Community

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) recently led the Senate in passing a resolution (S. Res. 208) celebrating the 6th annual "National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week,” which runs September 8-14. Direct support professionals (DSPs) support people in need, allowing them to live, work and participate fully in their communities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that one million new DSPs will be needed by 2016.

 

“Families across America depend on the hard work of Direct Support Professionals who provide an invaluable service to millions living with disabilities, seniors, and people with chronic conditions. I am proud to honor these men and women who do so much to improve their clients’ quality of life and keep community bonds strong,” said Senator Cardin.

“Direct support professionals work tirelessly every day of the year administering skilled and compassionate care to seniors and individuals with disabilities,” Senator Collins said.  “I commend the important work carried out by direct support professionals that allows these individuals to stay connected with their community and their families, and I am pleased to have supported a resolution honoring all that these professionals do to help those in their care live meaningful and productive lives.”

“This acknowledgment by the Senate is significant to ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign and its partners The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services and The National Association of Direct Support Professionals as work continues to secure increased funding for DSPs and improve supports and services for people with disabilities. “We are honored that the U.S. Senate has formally recognized the direct support workforce and the tremendous impact they have in communities across the country,” said Renee Pietrangelo, CEO of ANCOR. “We are proud to support all people to fully participate in their communities.”

 

Direct support professional job titles vary, and include in-home support worker, personal assistant, home health aide, job coach, direct support worker, and independent living skills instructor. These supports are essential across the lifespan to ensure that people who rely on supports can live healthy, safe lives as contributing members of their communities. However, low wages, limited training, and little recognition of the skilled work they do leads to high turnover among DSPs. 

 

The resolution language follows:

 

SENTE RESOLUTION 208

Designating the week beginning September 8, 2013, as ‘‘National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.’’

 

Whereas direct support professionals, direct care workers, personal assistants, personal attendants, in-home support workers, and paraprofessionals (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘direct support professionals’’) are the primary providers of publicly funded long-term supports and services for millions of individuals;

 

Whereas a direct support professional must build a close, trusted relationship with an individual with disabilities;

 

Whereas a direct support professional assists an individual with disabilities with the most intimate needs on a daily basis;

 

Whereas direct support professionals provide a broad range of support, including—

(1) preparing meals;

(2) managing medications;

(3) bathing;

(4) dressing;

(5) helping with mobility;

(6) providing transportation to school, work, and religious, and recreational activities; and

(7) helping with general daily affairs;

 

Whereas a direct support professional provides essential support

to help keep an individual with disabilities connected

to the family and community of the individual;

Whereas direct support professionals enable individuals with disabilities to live meaningful, productive lives;

 

Whereas a direct support professional is the key to allowing an individual with disabilities to live successfully in the community and avoid more costly institutional care;

 

Whereas the majority of direct support professionals are female, and many are the sole breadwinners of their families;

 

Whereas direct support professionals work and pay taxes, but many are impoverished and are eligible for the same Federal and State public assistance programs on which the individuals with disabilities served by the direct support professionals must depend;

 

Whereas Federal and State policies, as well as the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), assert the right of an individual to live in the home and community of the individual;

 

Whereas, in 2013, the majority of direct support professionals are employed in home- and community-based settings, and this trend is projected to increase during this decade;

 

Whereas there is a documented critical and growing shortage of direct support professionals in every community throughout the United States; and

 

Whereas many direct support professionals are forced to leave jobs due to inadequate wages and benefits, creating high turnover and vacancy rates that research demonstrates adversely affects the quality of support provided to individuals with disabilities: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

 

(1) designates the week beginning September 8, 2013, as ‘‘National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week’’;

(2) recognizes the dedication and vital role of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals of all ages with disabilities;

(3) appreciates the contribution of direct support professionals in supporting the needs that are beyond the capacities of millions of families in the United States;

(4) commends direct support professionals as integral in supporting the long-term support and services system of the United States; and

(5) finds that the successful implementation of the public policies of the United States depends on the dedication of direct support professionals.