When Americans with disabilities live independently, fully included in communities across our Nation – with the right supports in place – they are happier and healthier. Often, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) have a critical role in sustaining the independence of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). DSPs support individuals in making informed decisions, understanding risk, exercising their rights, and choosing personal supports that will facilitate the ability of individuals with IDD to pursue their individualized pathways to fully participate in the life of communities where we live. The DSP workforce is one of the highest in demand. It is anticipated that the demand will continue to grow and outpace supply as more individuals with IDD live in the community and live longer. Yet, with an average turnover rate of 45 percent, there is a perpetual imbalance in supply and demand that will only worsen with time. More and more attention is being paid at the national level to the long-standing DSP crisis.
This session will highlight initiatives at the federal level that aim to address this crisis, including the Administration for Community Living’s prize competition to strengthen the DSP workforce and overall stability of home and community-based services (HCBS) for individuals with ID/DD.
Melvenia Wright, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist, Administration for Community Living, US Department of Health and Human Services