This is the time. Years of minimal rate increases have resulted in chronic vacancies in direct care positions in our disability sector. Nationally, before COVID-19, turnover rates were higher than 40%. But add the Commonwealth’s red hot real estate market to the mix, and you can imagine the crisis many families, individuals, and agencies face.
Massachusetts is facing a workforce shortage crisis for direct support workers, which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis affects staff support for families and individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism in home, day, employment and residential settings.
This week, Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will “reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries effective May 10th and put plans in place for further reopening on May 29th and August 1st.” What wasn’t said is very important to our community: When will re-opening of our community day and employment services take place?
Imagine if you had an intellectual disability, autism, or other developmental disability and had to rely on family and friends for any support you may need. That was the reality in 1960. Today, eight (8) decades later, there are public benefits which allow many with disabilities to have a full life in the community.