Direct-care professionals provide their communities with an invaluable service, and their tireless dedication and commitment to the well-being of the disability community continues to improve the quality of life for those who have difficulty caring for themselves. During Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, which takes place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 14, it is important we take time to recognize and support those who do this truly incredible work.
It has long been the case that New York’s direct-care workers have been underpaid and the programs funding them have been woefully neglected. Year after year, caregivers come to Albany and rally for living wages and the same type of assistance and attention the governor has provided fast-food workers.
The Assembly Minority Conference has fought hard to restore funding cuts aimed at the direct-care industry, and has advocated for a much-needed living wage increase. But, our direct-care professionals need more than just a raise. Especially during next week, take a moment to reflect on the challenges the direct-care community faces every day and consider offering a “thank you” to those underpaid, and often overworked, professionals who care for New York’s most vulnerable population.
ASSEMBLY MINORITY STANDS UP FOR DIRECT-CARE WORKERS
The Assembly Minority Conference has worked closely with advocates of the #bFair2DirectCare initiative in order to help match legislative action with the needs of direct-care professionals. A concerted effort from experts, lawmakers, the medical community and those performing direct care is critical.
As such, in an effort to improve the effectiveness of New York’s direct-care programming, the New York State Assembly Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities conducted a series of 11 informational forums and published a report highlighting the challenges and needs of those who care for the disability community.
The report, “Championing Aid, Rights, Equality and Services (C.A.R.E.S.) Plan,” focused on ways to ensure each member of the disability community is cared for adequately, and in-line with their specific needs. We have also fought to protect funding for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, which allows those in need of care the flexibility to choose their own providers, and has been the target of past budget cuts.
As we enter into Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, let’s remember all that New York’s magnificent direct-care workers do and reflect on what they need to perform their duties.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at 315-781-2030, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, represents the 131st District, which includes Ontario County and part of Seneca County.