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Letter: Money alone won’t solve crisis in support services

Money alone won’t solve crisis in support services

As a staff member in a group home serving developmentally disabled adults, I would like to respond to Sunday’s Another Voice column. The writer seems to imply that more funding will fix the current problems with supportive services. It was implied that since 2008, the state has abdicated responsibility to this population as a “cost saving measure” by dismantling the service delivery system, and that lack of financial support is overwhelming the system. Adequate funding is only part of the equation. Spending the funding wisely is the other part.

The business model that was crafted during the switch from institutions to community-based services in the ’70s has not evolved with the changing times. During the economic downturn of 2008, successful businesses sought out ways to save money and keep their companies afloat. Creative approaches to trim operating costs, retain staff and survive a changing economy continue today as standard operating procedure.

While it is indeed true that there is currently a serious shortage of qualified workers, the pay scale is, again, only part of the equation. A quick internet search of the top five factors of job satisfaction shows that pay is rarely in first place. The “intangibles” that often rank higher are being respected by peers and management, being shown appreciation and transparency. All causes of staff shortages should be addressed to bring about a lasting solution.

New York State is not solely responsible for the shortages in services. The providers must take ownership of how financially sound their operational practices are. Money alone is not the answer.

Kathryn Fanning


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