Every day, direct support professionals are entrusted to support individuals who are developmentally and intellectually disabled, medically frail, brain injured, economically disadvantaged and individuals with other challenges. Direct Support staff performs intimate strenuous job responsibilities such as lifting and moving of individuals to meet their mobility needs and the performance of daily activities such as feeding, changing and repositioning.  Direct Support Professionals are specially trained in job responsibilities such as medication administration, CPR, First Aid and safe behavioral de-escalation in challenging situation. The staff offers the individuals in their care opportunities to assimilate into the surrounding community and guide them in making decisions about their lives.  “We learn how to take care of ourselves in areas of self-care but we also learn job skills so that maybe one day we can work and have normal lives, said Nick McCarthy an individual who is learning to self-advocate, “for some of us, we won’t have the luxury of living as completely independent active members of society because our disabilities are so complex and we need the staff to support us on a daily basis to help us be as self-sufficient as possible.”

Across the state there are more than 125,000 people with developmental disabilities that depend on direct support professionals. Combined there is over a $100 million dollar economic impact on this region.  Locally, agencies serve more than 5,000 individuals and there are close to 3,200 staff that live and work here.  It’s time that we stand up together to support this community, our neighbors and the “300 Days to Better Pay” Campaign and ask Governor Cuomo to include funding wage increases for direct support professionals.  Without Albany’s support agencies could close and lose many years of progress in community integration and deinstitutionalization will be lost.  We are already losing workers to higher-paying places and the one-year new employee turnover rate exceeds 20 percent.

On Thursday, December 15th 2016 from 10:00am – 11:30am Community, Work and Independence, Inc., Warren Washington Association for Mental Health and AIM Services rallied at the Glens Falls Civic Center .  We rallied in support of paying a fair wage for a fair day’s pay.  Local dignitaries, volunteers, families, parents, advocates, organization leaders and community supporters are encouraged to attend!  We will offer a letter drive table where anyone can send a letter letting Governor Cuomo know it’s time for NYS to recognize the skills and knowledge of DSP’s and that we need his help!

Check out our Facebook page for pictures!

See coverage of our event below by The Post-Star: http://poststar.com/news/local/direct-care-workers-rally-for-increased-pay/article_7d800a0f-a78b-5b79-8930-aa1e4fe7b5ce.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share

Our Adirondack Rally for #bFair2directcare was highlighted on Look TV News! It starts around 4:00 minutes in and ends around 5:20.