By: Kevin Nunez
Disability Advocate and Blogger
I am a person who likes to tell it like it is, I hope this post can shed some light on one of the biggest issues affecting the disability community. It’s one of those things that can get overlooked if your life does not depend on it, the General Public will never see this as a major issue because they are never affected by it. I am talking about the major lack of direct support professionals(DSP”s) in the state of New Jersey and pretty much every other state in the Union. In my personal opinion, I feel this issue has reached craziest levels, everyone, I know in the disability community ether looking for or worried about keeping their direct. support professional.
The people who are affected by this issue the most are parents, the individual themselves, and direct support professional of course. The facts are no parent can be around their child all day. The parent needs to be able to trust someone with their child, it is so hard to do this when you know the turnover rate is so high. Just imagine trying to learn to trust someone new every six months( if you’re lucky.) With the person, you care more about than anyone else in the world. For the individual, it can be heartbreaking to know they will lose their best friend and the person who is helping them with the most intimate parts of their own lives. Imagine trying to tell someone how to give you a bath on their first day. The person that gets overlooked the most is the professional themselves. They enter a job where they have little to no knowledge of the person whose life they will be caring for in almost every way. There is almost no chance for growth. The pay is stagnant, with little to no benefits to take care of themselves or their families
Usually and hopefully the person does this job has a good heart and does their job with love and care. The truth is most people do this job for a steady paycheck until they get burned out for lack of benefits. Then they move on to another company that does the same thing, in the hope of receiving a dollar more.
I am asking for Advocates and Families to contact elected officials to bring 2 lengths this major issue that affects all of us in the disability community to ask for a fair wage and or our benefits package so we don’t lose the people who helped us live our lives.