The New York State budget was passed…..in our favor! Due to successful advocacy efforts, our legislators included funding for essential Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Families, service providers, DSPs and people who receive services spoke up- LOUDLY!
WE WERE HEARD!
We’ve been losing our DSPs to higher-paying jobs for years. We’ve struggled to entice people to seek employment in our field. These positive first steps the budget has promised are imperative to keeping and attracting quality staff, ensuring vital supports for people with disabilities are sustained. Included in the budget was a well-deserved 5.4% cost of living adjustment (COLA) and workforce bonuses for DSPs. A proposed 11% increase COLA for special education providers with certain caveats was approved. Continued advocacy will be necessary in this area.
Self advocates have stated they are very pleased with the budget. They are pleased their DSPs are being recognized for their dedication. People don’t want to lose continuity of services and support. More work is necessary. Some programs still cannot operate at full capacity due to lack of staffing.
How can you continue your advocacy efforts? The approved budget was for this year only. Continue to remind your Senators and Assembly members about the importance of adding COLA increases yearly. Call your Legislators several times each year. Request a meeting. Become that familiar face the Legislator recognizes and develop a personal relationship.