Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Illinois

9/13/2010

Governor Quinn Proclaims Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Illinois

Recognizing the dedication of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of all ages, Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed the week of September 12-18 Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Illinois.

  "It is important that people with disabilities are able to maintain their independence by residing within the community," said Governor Quinn. "Illinois' direct support professionals provide the care and support people who have disabilities need in order to remain in their homes, surrounded by family and friends."

Direct support professionals include direct care workers, personal assistants, in-home support workers, and paraprofessionals. They are the primary providers of publicly-funded long term care and support for thousands of individuals in Illinois. Direct support professionals assist individuals with disabilities with their most intimate needs on a daily basis, and must build a close, trusting relationship with those they serve.

Direct support professionals provide a broad range of support, including preparation of meals, helping with medications, bathing, dressing, mobility, getting to school, work, religious and recreational activities, and other general daily affairs.

"The majority of direct support professionals are employed in home and community-based settings and we expect this trend to increase in the coming years," said Grace Hong Duffin, Acting Secretary for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). "We value their dedication and commitment to caring for people with disabilities. Direct support professionals play a key role in the services IDHS provides for thousands of our customers."

Earlier this year, more than 30,000 personal assistants who work for the IDHS Home Services Program received a 75 cent raise to $11.20 an hour and were given healthcare benefits under their collective bargaining agreement.

Proclamation

  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals, direct care workers, personal assistants, personal attendants, in-home support workers, and paraprofessionals are the primary providers of publicly-funded long term support and services for millions of individuals; and,
  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals assist individuals with disabilities with their most intimate needs on a daily basis, and must build a close, trusting relationship with those they serve; and,
  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals provide a broad range of support, including preparation of meals, helping with medications, bathing, dressing, mobility, getting to school, work, religious and recreational activities, and other general daily affairs; and,
  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals provide essential support to help keep individuals with disabilities connected to family and community, enabling individuals with disabilities to lead meaningful, productive lives; and,
  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals are the key to allowing individuals with disabilities to live successfully in the community, thereby avoiding more costly institutional care; and,
  • WHEREAS, the majority of direct support professionals are female, and many are the sole income earners in their families; and,
  • WHEREAS, direct support professionals work and pay taxes, but many remain impoverished and are eligible for the same federal and state public assistance programs for which the individuals with disabilities they serve also depend; and,
  • WHEREAS, currently, the majority of direct support professionals are employed in home and community-based settings and this trend is projected to increase in the coming years; and,
  • WHEREAS, there is a documented critical and growing shortage of direct support professionals in many communities throughout the United States; and,
  • WHEREAS, many direct support professionals are forced to leave jobs due to inadequate wages and benefits, creating high turnover and vacancy rates that research demonstrates adversely affects the quality of support for individuals with disabilities:
  • THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim September 12-18, 2010 as DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS RECOGNITION WEEK in Illinois, in recognition of the dedication of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of all ages.