NJ's DSPs Deserve a Living Wage - #PayFair4DirectCare

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Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) support individuals with complex needs that include physical, intellectual, or behavioral challenges and health conditions.  They need to make important decisions about all aspects of the lives of the individuals they support.  Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) require assistance for DSPs in navigating everyday life; within group homes, private homes, day programs, workplaces, and anywhere else a person with I/DD may want or need to go.

Despite the critical and complex work they do, the average starting salary of a DSP is only $10.50 per hour.  Due to low salaries, DSPs often must receive public assistance and/or work multiple jobs, neither of which is in the best interest in those being served or the DSP.   Service provider agencies as well as families and individuals with I/DD who seek to hire DSPs struggle, often searching for weeks or months to identify and hire qualified staff, only to have them move on after a short while.

To ensure that a fully-staffed delivery system in New Jersey is created and maintained, DSPs must be paid a living wage.  Toward that end, funding must be allotted to raise DSP salaries $1.25 per hour every year for five years.  This increase will address the need for a higher starting wage and will also compensate existing employees.  Building and retaining a strong, qualified and sustainable workforce requires a commitment to people with I/DD and correspondingly valuing the workers who support them.  Please help us achieve this goal!