Rock Island, IL – People with disabilities depend on caring professionals to support them in many aspects of their daily life. The people who provide this support are Direct Support Professionals or DSPs. DSPs want to provide the best care possible but wages, which are set by the State, have not kept up with demand. The result is a caregiver crisis in Illinois and the Quad Cities is no exemption. High turn-over rates affect the work load for existing staff and the people they care for are faced with constant change and uncertainty. We know people with disabilities deserve more – they need caregivers who earn a living wage.
The Arc of the Quad-Cities Area is part of a statewide campaign aimed at getting legislation to increase wages for DSPs to $15 an hour. One step toward that outcome, Senate Bill 3508 has passed the house thanks to the support of State Sen. Neil Anderson. As a first responder in years past, Sen. Anderson understands the importance of front line staff. Says Executive Director Michael Glanz, “We very much appreciate the unique understanding Sen. Anderson has brought to his office and for staying engaged with the issues that matter most.”
“Director Support Professionals, such as those at The Arc, provide such an important role in helping those with disabilities,” State Sen. Neil Anderson said. “I know the critical nature of what they do, having responded to their facility as a firefighter. The services they provide to these individuals ensures that every person is treated with care and dignity. It’s a physically and emotionally difficult job. Turnover is high. This legislation is the right thing to do, and it will help decrease turnover, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.”
The push for raising pay levels continues in the Illinois State House. There has been recent momentum. Last year, legislation was passed to allow for an increase of .75 cents per hour. However, this has not translated into reduced turnover rates for The Arc. “We need our state leaders to make the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are a top priority,” says Mr. Glanz. “We support a continued effort by our local leaders Sen. Anderson and Rep. Halpin to make sure this issue translates into higher pay for DSPs and crucial supports for people with disabilities so they can live to their fullest potential.”
The Arc promotes the equal treatment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in community life and supports individual’s interests so as to make available their full productive and creative capacities. The Arc of the Quad Cities Area’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to believe in their own unique abilities to achieve their full potential by providing quality, innovative services that focus on advocacy, independence, meaningful community life and personal happiness.