I was very happy to see the editorial concerning the workforce crisis in the system that provides care for the developmentally disabled. My daughter, Jessica is 34 years old, cute, funny, social – and developmentally disabled. She requires 24 hour/day care, and help with every aspect of her life, eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, counting out the pills she needs to control her seizures.
She lives in a People Inc. group home with five housemates. The six of them have lived together for well over 10 years and are really a family. However, Jessica is totally dependent on the staff working in the IRA. We are fortunate to have several dedicated, caring and committed staff, however there are several open positions and it has been very difficult to find people to fill them. As a result, staff are working double shifts, often picking up overnights on top of their day hours. They are exhausted.
It is essential that staff like those at my daughter’s house earn a living wage. It is therefore imperative that the state of New York provide more sustained funding to People Inc. (and the other agencies) to allow appropriate pay of the staff. It is the only way the present staffing crisis will be resolved, and the only way that my daughter, her housemates and the many hundreds of people like them will be able to live safe, happy, and fulfilling lives.