Impact Feature Issue on Direct Support Workforce Development

From the Editors

This document has been archived because some of the information it contains is out of date.

For many people with disabilities, life in their communities – in the workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, and multitude of places people gather socially – is influenced by the availability of qualified, reliable Direct Support staff. The Direct Support workforce is made up of people whose skills, knowledge, and commitment equip them to assist individuals with disabilities in maintaining health, self-determination, and community participation. That workforce and the supports it provides is in jeopardy today because the demand and need for such services is outgrowing the pool of individuals willing and able to fill those essential positions.

The forces impacting the availability of quality Direct Support services are many: wages, benefits, education, professional status and standards, and budgets, as well as the steadily growing total number of Direct Support staff needed. The articles in thisImpactdescribe how these issues are being addressed across the country through strategies that reach from the U.S. Congress to the homes of individuals in local communities. We hope that these articles will provide readers with ideas that they can implement to ensure that individuals with disabilities continue to have access to the supports they need to live lives of their choosing in their local communities.