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Letter: Direct service professionals deserve to earn a fair wage

Direct service professionals deserve to earn a fair wage

We believe that Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t understand what it is like to be developmentally disabled and have to rely on an another adult, other than a family member, for support. If he did, maybe he would realize that people who chose to do this work deserve to get a fair wage. To date he has not done so.

As parents of a young man who has Down syndrome, we are relying on other adults to support him in his living situation outside our family home. Being involved in the hiring process, we looked for individuals to be trustworthy, competent, compassionate, friendly, engaging and supportive of our son’s interests, among other attributes. We also wanted them to be paid a fair wage that is commensurate with their many responsibilities. Good staff are hard to find.

Unfortunately, the governor did not include the requested and necessary increase in his executive budget. As parents who love their son and care about other individuals who depend on others to support them, we urge Cuomo to include $45 million in the budget so the right kind of people will be attracted to and stay in the field of direct service professionals. Currently, there is a crisis trying to fill the many vacancies, and as the minimum wage goes up to $15 for food service workers and others, this will only get worse. Please do the right thing for our son and others and those they depend on.

Max and Joyce Donatelli


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