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Since our founding, people who have a loved one with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have looked to The Arc for advice, information, and help. We receive calls, emails, and letters from parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends of people with I/DD. Oftentimes, they are frustrated, confused, or at a dead end. Twenty-five years ago, they wanted alternatives to institutions, to get off waiting lists for services, and to find employment of sheltered workshops.

Those questions have changed through the efforts of The Arc and supporters like you. Today, families need help with self-direction, inclusion, and funding. The questions may be different, the underlying desire to help a loved one build a happy, safe life in the community is the same.

But change also brings new challenges, and it’s clear there is so much more to be done.

Today, a roadblock to achieving a full life often is a dire lack of options. Why? Because there are not enough workers to assist people with disabilities.

In fact, the quality of care and the quality of life for individuals with I/DD in Massachusetts is at risk due to the shortage of qualified staff to provide the services that people with I/DD need.

It is a universal crisis.

While the cost of staff turnover is significant for agencies, it has a real human impact. People with I/DD have more success when they receive consistent care, which is more difficult to achieve when staff changes frequently.

The Arc of Massachusetts is leading the way to find a solution. We developed a workforce initiative that will help increase the number of qualified direct care professionals. The initiative is a strategic vision for tackling the shortage and offers four tangible and achievable steps for reversing the crisis through workforce investment; innovation and system design; clinical teams and trained staff; and building human capital.

But we need you to help us lead. Together we can make a difference on this critical issue that is impacting the lives of thousands of people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Beyond the workforce crisis, The Arc plays a key role in advocacy and education. We are fighting for funding for human services in the state’s 2020 budget (which as of this writing, is looking positive!), working to pass Nicky’s Law (abuse registry bill), and tracking MassHealth changes. We also are educating our constituents and the public and empowering self-advocates to take a central role.

You can help make all this happen!

Remember, when you support The Arc, you’re helping thousands of people across Massachusetts: perhaps members of your immediate or extended family, your friends, your neighbors, have opportunities that lead to a good life. There are tens of thousands in Massachusetts alone whose lives The Arc works to improve. Your support will make a difference in what we can accomplish.

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