Each year, the Case for Inclusion offers a series of lessons from the field that can instruct advocates on policy opportunities to pursue in their states, as well as insights from leaders in other states who have secured meaningful policy victories on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Case for Inclusion 2019 offers three such case studies, available below: A Workforce in Crisis, Promoting Employment in Today’s Economy and Wait No More.
A Workforce in Crisis
The Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce specializes in supporting people with I/DD so they can live in the community with their family and peers, instead of in state institutions. DSPs are the backbone of community supports, but in general, they are not staying in the field long enough to turn it into a career. In this case study, we offer data about the scope of the workforce crisis, as well as insights from three states that have found proven solutions.
Promoting Employment in Today’s Economy
Having a job is a key part of being connected to the community. For people of all abilities, employment brings a sense of purpose and meaning, a way to support themselves, and the flexibility to pursue one’s dream. However, the Case for Inclusion 2019 finds that individuals with I/DD struggle to find any employment, let alone competitive employment (defined as the opportunity to work alongside those without disabilities at market-driven wages). The good news is that Washington state, by passing the first-of-its-kind Employment First policy, saw its rate of competitive employment skyrocket. This case study offers insights from the experience of advocates in Washington.
Wait No More
Between when the Case for Inclusion was last published in 2016 to the most recent edition of the report in 2019, the number of people on waiting lists for Medicaid-funded Home and Community-Based Services increased by 75,000. As of the Case for Inclusion 2019, a staggering 424,000 individuals with I/DD need long-term supports and services but aren’t receiving them. In some states, tens of thousands of people wait, but a lack of investment on behalf of states or a shortage of qualified workers make it impossible to serve those in need. One bright spot has been in Alaska, which doubled the number of people served and cut the size of its waiting list in half. This case study offers insights from advocates in Alaska.