14 Sep Direct Support Professional Recognition Week
Governor Wolf issued a resolution designating the week of September 10-17, 2017 as “Direct Support Professionals Recognition week.” The goal of this resolution is to bring attention the incredible value this workforce brings to communities all across Pennsylvania. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the backbone of community-based care providing everyday services to individuals with intellectual disability or autism (ID/A). In Pennsylvania, there are more than 35,000 DSPs who support individuals with intellectual disability or autism in their communities. Some of the services they provide include hygiene, nutrition, assistance with medications, emotional support, and so much more. Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is a time when the Commonwealth recognizes those who serve these individuals, their families, and the community for their valuable role in supporting our most vulnerable citizens.
In his proclamation, Governor Wolf recognized the various things that Direct Support Professionals do for those they help. This includes the recognition of the constant time spent and the broad range of support they provide. Most importantly it addresses the workforce crisis that exists within the system. This workforce crisis, driven by the fact that DSPs are paid a poverty level wage in Pennsylvania making it a constant uphill struggle to recruit and retain a stable workforce, is the single largest threat to the ID/A system in Pennsylvania. Every day, 4,200 positions are vacant in the system and nearly 10,000 DSPs leave this work force…every year. It is an unsustainable formula in a system that needs certainty and stability for positive outcomes for the individuals being supported.
Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR), along with the providers they represent, have taken to social media and other avenues to thank their DSPs for the incredible work they do. They have also held special events and given out gifts and prizes to outstanding DSPs. It is vital that these professionals receive the praise and recognition that they deserve. To learn more about DSP Recognition Week and what you can to help end this crisis visit www.FixtheDSPCrisis.com and PAR’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PARdotnet/.