"Low wages for disability service professionals result in needless suffering and violation of federal law and court order"
(Equip for Equality press release, April 10, 2017)

During the past 25 years, Avenues and other disability advocates have been sounding a warning about the chronic underfunding of services in Illinois and across the United States. 

Today, Illinois ranks 47th nationally in its per capita fiscal spending on community developmental disability services.  Combined with the current budget impasse, wages and benefits are far below the levels needed to attract and retain qualified individuals.  Annual turnover of direct care staff can exceed 50% and many organizations have vacancies of 20% and higher.

Statewide, the average wage of a Direct Support Professional (DSP) is under $10 per hour.  This is below the minimum wages enacted in many jurisdictions across the country; it is sad to consider that disability services are now considered a minimum wage industry.

As the unemployment numbers continue to decline, salary and benefit packages in other industries are increasing.  Other career options come with higher salaries, better benefits and do not require the level of skill, attention to detail and compassion that are required in the disability field. 

Disability advocates, associations and agencies have highlighted the workforce crisis as our number one priority that needs to be resolved.  

Everyone is asked to contact the Governor, Senators and Representatives to support people with disabilities and resolve the Workforce Crisis.   The future of services for Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Illinois is at stake. 

Take Action and Support Individuals with Disabilities by supporting their Direct Care Workforce

Additional Information on the
Disability System Workforce Crisis

WGN TV, June 7, 2017
The Human Cost of No Illinois Budget

People with Disabilities Deserve More!
Campaign to solve the Caregiver Crisis

August, 2016 Statewide Survey

News Coverage of the Workforce Crisis

University of Illinois Workforce Study

2006 Report To Congress   

Other Important Issues

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