Autism New Jersey provided testimony at the Assembly Budget Committee Hearing on Wednesday, March 15th to urge the Legislature to add $36 million to the FY2018 budget to support Direct Support Professionals throughout the state. As an active member of the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage, we are asking you to support the efforts of the Coalition by registering to testify at an upcoming hearing. Testifying before the Committees is a powerful way of conveying our message. If you can't attend a hearing in-person, you can still help support this effort. Testimony can be written and then emailed to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees.
Click here for information about registering, as well as hearing dates and location.
Talking Points for Testimony
Below you will find talking points that you can use when testifying or writing your comments. Please be sure to make your testimony personal! Explain how the DSP workforce shortage impacts you.
- Direct Support Professionals assist and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although they provide critical tasks that allow for community integration, the average starting salary for a DSP is only $10.50 an hour.
- Because of this low wage, provider organizations and families who seek to hire DSPs to care for their loved ones have a very hard time finding and retaining staff. Service provider agencies report a remarkably high turnover rate of approximately 44% and staff vacancy rates of more than 20%.
- If nothing is done to address this issue, the workforce shortage will continue and individuals with I/DD may lose the very important services they rely on.
- To ensure that a fully-staffed delivery system for people with I/DD in New Jersey is created and maintained, DSPs must be paid a living wage.
- Toward that end, funding must be allotted to raise DSP salaries by $1.25 per hour every year for five years, starting in Fiscal Year 2018. It is the State’s responsibility to assure services are not negatively impacted by a workforce shortage.
- With this in mind, we urge the Legislature to add $36 million to the FY18 Budget, which will likely trigger matching funds from the federal government via Medicaid, to increase wages to all Direct Support Professionals. This is a necessary step to ensure services continue uninterrupted to those who need them most.
- Without a robust and dependable workforce, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families may not receive the services they require.
Register to Testify
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearings:
- Tuesday, March 14, 2017 • 11:00 AM -- CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
Rowan College at Gloucester County
Athletic Education Center 1400 Tanyard Road
Sewell, New Jersey 08080
- Tuesday, March 21, 2017 • 10:00 AM
Rutgers University 15 Washington Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Register by clicking here.
Assembly Budget Committee Hearings:
- Wednesday, March 15, 2017 • 9:30 AM
Committee Room 11, 4th Floor State
House Annex Trenton, New Jersey 08625
- Wednesday, March 22, 2017 • 9:30 AM
Eynon Ballroom, 2nd Floor
Chamberlain Student Center
201 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, New Jersey 08028
- Wednesday, March 29, 2017 • 9:30 AM
Felician University - Lodi Campus Obal Hall, 2nd Floor Lecture Hall
262 South Main Street
Lodi, New Jersey 07644
Register by clicking here.
Submitting Your Testimony Via Email:
If you cannot attend one of the Committee Hearings, please be sure to submit your testimony via email to the Office of Legislative Services. Doing so ensures a copy of your testimony is distributed to both the Chairmen and the legislative members of the Committees.
Testimony should be sent to: EHagans@njleg.org and SCenneno@njleg.org
Please copy Autism New Jersey (email@example.com) so we are aware of your testimony and can provide you with updates.