Case for Inclusion 2020 National Press Release
New Report Shows Persistent Workforce Crisis, Ballooning Waiting Lists are Jeopardizing Community Inclusion for People with Disabilities
Case for Inclusion 2020 Assesses How Well State Programs Support People with Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities
WASHINGTON, D.C.–A new report published today by the ANCORFoundation and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) finds that a significant shortage of direct support professionals who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), along with growing waiting lists and insufficient employment opportunities, are inhibiting the ability of people with I/DD to be included in the community.
The Case for Inclusion 2020assesses all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 58 measures of how well state programs, primarily Medicaid, serve those with I/DD. The report reveals that the state in which a person with a disability lives can be a significant predictor of that person’s life trajectory and whether they have the opportunity to live, work and otherwise be included in the community. In large part, this challenge stems from a direct support workforce in crisis, characterized by low wages and high turnover and vacancy rates among direct support professionals, or DSPs—the professionals who support people with I/DD in everything from completing daily living activities to building job skills to enacting their civic duties, such as voting.
While the Case for Inclusion finds a national turnover rate among DSPs of 43.8 percent, turnover varies widely between states—from a low of 24.4 percent in the District of Columbia to a high of 68.8 percent in Nebraska. In part, high turnover is explained by low wages—the median wage nationally was just $12.09 per hour—and closely associated with high vacancy rates. According to the most recent data available, 8.1 percent of full-time and 17.3 percent of part-time direct support positions were vacant.
The challenges associated with a workforce in crisis may help to explain why the Case for Inclusion also reveals a significant increase in the number of people with I/DD on states’ waiting lists for Medicaid-funded Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). In 2017 (the most recent data available used for this report), there were 473,000 people with I/DD—49,000 more than in the year prior—on waiting lists for HCBS waivers to enable them to be supported in community-based settings, rather than in large, state-run institutions with few or no opportunities to lead a full and independent life.