Pay Fair for My Care

Direct Support Professionals are a lifeline for people living with developmental disabilities. They not only give them a seat at the table but help them to survive and thrive.

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Individuals with I/DD and their families are asking lawmakers to Pay Fair for My Care!

Disability services are chronically underfunded, and the problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Nationwide, the health care industry is seeing a shortage of Direct Support Professionals (DSP). Service providers, individuals and families are now doing what they can to recruit and retain DSPs amidst a workforce crisis. In Florida, DSP wages have not been substantially increased for years and they are the lifeline for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to survive and thrive.

Why We Rely on Direct Support Workers

See below stories of individuals and families and their need for quality care through direct support workers.
To submit your own photo or story visit our campaign form linked here.

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Sarah Goldman

Tallahassee, Florida

Because of my direct support workers, I get the opportunity to live in my own apartment, make my own choices, and work a full time job. Despite my disability, I have always wanted to be like any other person my age. Though most 30 year olds can get themselves dressed, cook meals, run errands, do their own hair, and get in and out of bed- I cannot but my direct support workers fill the gap for me! 

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Max Memoli and Elly Hagen

Fort Myers, Florida

My 23-year old son, Philip “Max” Memoli suffers from severe autism. He needs assistance with basic living skills like grooming, preparing meals and doing household chores. If the rate issue for direct support workers is not addressed, the support workforce will continue to diminish, and individuals like Max will have difficulty staying in appropriate settings, and families like ours will be faced with extreme caregiving issues.

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Michael Miller
Lakeland, Florida

Our Michael is 19 yrs old. Michael was born premature and lives with Cerebral Palsy and non-verbal Autism. Michael requires support for all daily living skills. Our goal is that Michael has meaningful engagement and participation in his community while remaining safe and supported. Michael will need supports for the rest of his life.  As Michael ages, his level of support will increase. We need you to be the voice of the people in your community who often cannot speak for themselves.

Why We Are Vital for Floridians

Direct Support Professionals are a lifeline for people living with developmental disabilities. See below stories of dedicated support workers and the role they play in the lives individuals and families. To submit your own photo or story visit our campaign form linked here.

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Tamara Foster

Jacksonville, Florida

After our day program reopened in September 2020 due to the pandemic, Tamara worked as a DSP in our Life Enrichment program. As we have navigated reopening and bringing more participants back to our campus during this worldwide health emergency, we have experienced many of the same staffing issues that have been prevalent across our industry and others. Tamara has stepped up to take on many roles at Pine Castle over the past year and her flexibility and desire to be continuously learning and evolving as an employee have enabled us to provide our participants with the best possible care every day.

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Travis Klein

Jacksonville, Florida

Travis grew up volunteering on Pine Castle’s campus and came on board as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) five years ago. After becoming a DSP, Travis quickly became interested in the day-to-day operations of the Wood Shop, which is operated by participants with differences and produces more than a million wooden stakes annually. Travis is just one of thousands of DSPs in Florida who are doing this vital work to help adults with differences to be more successful, reach their goals and integrate into their communities.

What You Need to Know

Direct Support Professionals  are leaving the profession in large numbers due to a lack of pay increases and sustainable wages.

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  • Nationwide, the health care industry is seeing a shortage of Direct Support Professionals (DSP). Service providers are now doing what they can to recruit and retain employees amidst a workforce crisis. In Florida, DSP wages have not been substantially increased for years.

  • DSPs fulfill many critical roles. They build relationships and oftentimes provide around-the-clock care for people with I/DD. However, the annual turnover rate has reached a crisis level of over 50% and the workforce has diminished.

  • DSPs are some of the most underpaid, undervalued professionals in our state. On average, DSPs make a little more than $11 an hour nationwide—wages bound by state and federal funding.

  • DSPs are a lifeline for people living with I/DD. They not only give them a seat at the table but a chance to survive and thrive. Without the availability of these services, individuals with I/DD cannot be included in their communities and may have to seek more costly institutional care to survive.

How You Can Get Involved

With Pay Fair for My Care, FDDC has created ways that Florida’s most vulnerable citizens can educate the Florida Legislature on why they rely on direct support workers.

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BE INFORMED

Understand the importance of DSPs and that they are a lifeline for people with developmental disabilities. Read our talking points and use available materials to educate yourself on this issue.

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BE VOCAL

Share your story with your community and legislators. Make sure they understand what support services mean to you. Submit your own photo or story to be shared by visiting our campaign form linked here.

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BE PRESENT

Schedule a Zoom meeting with your legislator’s office. Prepare an e-mail to your legislator and/or their aide. Use our campaign materials to share the importance of direct support professionals.

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