“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ― Mother Teresa
An opportunity has arisen for all of us to advocate for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and agencies who dedicate themselves to caring for individuals with disabilities. It's been a rough few years for this profession. A long-lasting pandemic coupled with rising prices, low wages, and competition from higher paying entry-level jobs has led to shortages in the field. Many providers, Richmond included, rely primarily on Medicaid funding and are limited to paying salaries that reimbursement rates allow. At RCS, starting salaries for DSPs range from $16.00 to just over $18.00 per hour, a challenge for the best of budgeters.
In 2022, New York Governor Hochul provided a 5.4% cost of living adjustment for agencies. A start, but after many years of little investment, more needs to be done. Currently, New York Disability Advocates (nydisabilityadvocates.org) is calling for a two-fold plan to be enacted in the State Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The plan includes:
- The creation of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement which would entitle agencies to receive $4,000 per eligible employee to be used to increase salary rates.
- An 8.5% cost of living increase to offset the rising operational costs for agencies.
Our staff members spend time sharing a smile and a laugh, caring for individuals' health and wellness, and helping the people we support succeed. At RCS, we like to say that we are creating enviable lives. Now it is our turn to show our support and be one of the ripples Mother Teresa spoke of.
Click here to send a letter of support for this plan.