Washington, DC – Earlier this month, the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) released the 2017 report “America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People with Intellectual Disabilities, Families, Communities and the U.S. Economy”. The Arc released the following statement in response to the report:
“Direct support professionals play a vital role in the lives of people with intellectual disability and their families, yet as this report outlines, we are facing a crisis when it comes to recruitment and retention in this essential field. These highly skilled workers allow many individuals with intellectual disability to live, work, and learn in the community and lead self-directed lives. But increasingly, our community is losing these vital workers to higher-paying, less demanding jobs where proper training and competitive benefits are provided.
“Nationally the shortage of direct support professionals is a priority initiative for The Arc and our chapter network. We are grateful that this report not only sheds light on this growing epidemic but also offers tangible solutions to the Trump Administration. As this crisis continues, individuals with intellectual disability and their families face uncertainty and anxiety. The Arc and our chapter network remain a resource as we work to address this crisis nationally, but we encourage prompt and immediate action,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc and member of PCPID.
The Arc’s Direct Support Professional (DSP) Toolkit is highlighted in the report. The toolkit was created to support chapters of The Arc with DSP retention and recruitment. This tool was developed and used in pilot demonstrations conducted by the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota.
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.