Thanking our direct-care professionals for their work

Staff Writer
Wayne Post
Brian Kolb

You can determine the character of a society by how it cares for its most vulnerable people. The character of our state is fortified by the invaluable work done by the direct support professionals who care for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For this reason, the state of New York and the entire country celebrates the work of these caring, dedicated people by commemorating Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week from Sept. 13 through 19.

I am eager to speak at the upcoming Direct Support Professionals Virtual Conference. While we cannot be together in person, I look forward to sharing my deep gratitude and providing encouragement after what has been a challenging year in their profession.

As a legislator, I’ve championed the causes important to direct support professionals and to the individuals in their care. Over the years, we have collaborated on critically important legislative initiatives.

I have been a stalwart advocate for the good work these 90,000 men and women do each and every day. I have worked to increase their compensation for their invaluable service. I worked with direct-care professionals and others to develop policy recommendations, and the Championing, Aid, Rights, Equality and Services Plan to better support New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the individuals who care for and support them.

Direct support professionals have incredibly demanding jobs. They provide behavioral and communication training. They teach life skills. They dress wounds, inject insulin and change feeding tubes. They provide transportation and prepare meals. This year, they did all that work on the front lines of a global pandemic.

There is a common thread you will see among direct-care professionals — a deep desire to see those with intellectual and developmental disabilities thrive in their own capabilities. I have enjoyed getting to know so many of them over the years, and have been inspired by the ways they uplift their clients and their families. I’d like to encourage all of you to make a plan to thank a direct support professional in a special way as we approach the week marking their compassionate service.

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 or find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook.

New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb represents the 131st District, which includes Ontario County and part of Seneca County.