TESTIMONY ON DIRECT SUPPORT STAFF WAGE INCREASE
May 15, 2013
The Arc of Illinois represents infants, children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. We have 58 Chapters in Illinois and 10,000 individual members.
The Arc of Illinois believes it is critical that Direct Support Staff be paid a living wage especially now that the Developmental Disability System here in Illinois is rebalancing and investing in community supports/services.
We fully support the recommendations of the The Care Campaign which are:
1. That in Fiscal Year 2014 direct support wages will be increased by $1.00 per hour.
2. That in three years direct support wages will increase to an average wage of $13.00.
The Arc views this as a quality of life issue for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Children and adults who require support should be able to depend upon a stable and competent workforce to attend to their needs. Investing in Direct Support Staff is an excellent investment for the state as we move away from obsolete and expensive institutional services.
Consider the following:
1. In Illinois, a recent IARF Survey indicates that the average wage paid to direct support staff is $9.35 per hour.
2. The 2013 State of the States in Developmental Disabilities found the mean hourly wage for direct support staff to be $10.14 with 2009 data.
3. Turnover of first year direct support staff is estimated at 70% in community programs.
4. A Powers and Powers (2010) study estimated that a 24-31% increase in annual wages for caregivers would cut turnover rate by one-third.
5. The Dept of Labor states that direct care occupations are projected to be the second largest occupational group in the U.S. by 2018 reaching 4.3 million and exceeding the number of teachers, nurses and law enforcement professionals.
Please support the recommendations of The Care Campaign.
Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.
The Arc’s Position Statement on Direct Support Professionals
is also a part of this testimony.