Addressing the Disability Services Workforce Crisis of the 21st Century

American Network of Community Options and Resources 2017

2015 Median Annual Cost of Care In:
Nursing Facilities:$91,250
Home Services*: $45,760
Adult Day Care*: $17,940
*Fall under the community services umbrella.

Executive Summary

Intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) services are contending with external market disruptions which severely affect workforce retention and recruitment and are causing a public health crisis. Without qualified staff, agencies are limited in how they offer client-driven services, namely assisting individuals with IDD in living where, with whom and how they choose.

IDD services are a unique marriage of the private sector and the public good; providers, who range from small family-operated agencies to multi-state organizations, offer services funded by the government so that individuals with IDD can live full lives in the community instead of institutions. These services are delivered through dedicated staff called direct service professionals (DSPs). DSPs perform a wide range of work, from coaching individuals so they can find jobs to helping medically fragile individuals eat and get ready for the day. Agencies use their business acumen to deliver efficiencies so that services in the community are less costly to the government than institutions, while increasing the quality of outcomes for individuals because they can decide what help they want. However, agencies’ ability to meet this endeavor is severely hampered by a steadily growing workforce crisis.

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