From the ‘They Deserve More’ coalition, more than 50 agencies and organizations from throughout the State of Illinois focused on supporting people with disabilities.
We congratulate our state leaders for coming through with a budget for the state, and appreciate that additional support addressing the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has been included in this important legislation. We understand that reaching this compromise required many difficult decisions, and we are encouraged that this budget starts to address critical priorities.
Individuals with disabilities rely heavily on the personal and professional help provided by their caregivers. It has been nearly a decade since these direct support professionals (DSPs) have had an increase in their average starting wages. This lack of funding has led to devastating outcomes for those who rely on direct support staff for daily care and support; community homes have closed, hundreds of caregiver positions have gone unfilled, and nearly 20,000 children and adults with disabilities have languished on a state waiting list for services.
This state budget provides an important first step in the right direction – a 75-cent per hour raise which will help us get over the $10 mark with average starting wages for DSPs. But it is only a first step. As we move forward, we hope that state leaders will make good on their intention to make the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a priority. That includes ensuring that we address the ongoing workforce crisis facing DSP’s by funding a living and competitive wage of $15.00 per hour.
Our state leaders’ sustained commitment to this critical issue is essential to ensure that future budgets help us get closer to a living wage, and ensure the best possible care is provided for those citizens who need the most support.
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source: press release ‘They Deserve More’ coalition