(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, released the following statement in response to the New Jersey Department of Human Services announcing temporary wage increases for the next three months for direct support professionals who care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes or supervised apartments, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Direct support professionals play a crucial role in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They go above and beyond to care for our most vulnerable, from managing doctor’s appointments and medication to cooking daily meals and helping out around the house. Most importantly, they keep their clients safe from harm.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work of DSPs all the more important. Individuals with disabilities often have underlying health conditions, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19. DSPs now have the added responsibility of ensuring the individuals they care for can take precautions to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, even as their regular routines are significantly disrupted. This work isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely essential.
“I’m thrilled that DSPs will receive $3 per hour raises over the next three months. I ask that the federal government consider assisting us in making these wage increases permanent, so that these workers are more fairly compensated for their efforts to care for vulnerable individuals. DSPs deserve our support during these challenging times. To DSPs and all of the essential workers on the front lines – thank you.”