More than 330,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live in our state; they are our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends; however, their support structure has been grossly underfunded and is failing. Direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to low wages, essential programs are closing throughout the state, and individuals are forced to live with inadequate supports or without supports at all.
Senate Request Author: Senator Henry Stern, Senate District 27
Senator Andreas Borgeas, Senate District 8
Senator Shannon Grove, Senate District 16
Senator Mike Morrell, Senate District 23
Senator Jeff Stone, Senate District 28
Senator John Moorlach, Senate District 37
Assembly Request Co-Author: Assemblymember Jim Frazier, District 11
Assembly Request Co-Author: Assemblymember Chris Holden, District 41
Assemblymember Brian Dahle, District 1
Assemblymember Heath Flora, District 12
Assemblymember Devon Mathis, District 26
Assemblymember Tom Lackey, District 36
Assemblymember Christy Smith, District 38
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, District 75
At the April 3, 2019 Sacramento rally these Senators and Assemblymembers came out of the Capitol building to sign the letter. To read the letter click the button below:
There are approximately 150,000 direct support professionals (DSP's) working in our state to support more than 330,000 Californian's with intellectual and developmental disabilities succeed in every aspect of their lives. Low rates for services, set by the state, directly impact DSP wages.
The state has set rates for the services it is legally obligated to provide to people with I/DD too low. We are being denied these vital services because of unfilled positions and high worker turnover.
Dolores Huerta and her grandchildren explain why disability rights are civil rights and why California's lawmakers must #KeepThePromise
"Our son, David, has autism and significant difficulties with language and needs 24-hour staff support. In the last 27 months David has had 10 different support staff. For obvious reasons, this is not an ideal situation, and recruiting for David can be challenging due to the difficulties of communicating with him. Given the low wage rate with little opportunity for advancement, finding a higher paying job is always a prime motivation for staff to move on. There is always uncertainty about when the situation will resolve, and uncertainty is difficult for David and the rest of our family. The reassurance that would come with improvements for our direct support staff and knowing that the system is stable is priceless."
- Betsy Katz, Mom and President of The Arc of California
"I receive a paycheck twice a month. I work 120 hours plus each pay period and I bring home only $1500 at the most, usually less than that after taxes. I can't even afford my own place. I even started driving for Lyft to make ends meet. I love my job I enjoy going to work every day but it's not enough to survive."
- Anonymous Direct Support Professional, Solano County
Take 2 Minutes and Submit A Letter to Your State Legislators Telling Them to Sign On to the Budget Request Letter to Provide $290 Million for Direct Support Staff Wages and to Keep Programs From Closing.
The state is failing Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, causing individuals and families to suffer without critical services and supports. Violating its legal requirement under the Lanterman Act, the state has chronically underfunded the community based organizations that provide services such as supported employment, independent living, family respite, and community integration. As a result, the workforce is leaving in masses - forced to leave the job they love because they struggle with poverty as a result of low wages - and programs are closing their doors. Instead of receiving the services they need to actively contribute to our communities, people are sitting at home without services and families are left abandoned by the state that promised to support them.
California's Lanterman Act passed in 1969. This law sought to end the long era of institutionalization by setting up the regional center system instead. This meant that people with I/DD could stay in their communities of origin instead of being removed to the segregated isolation of an institution. When this law passed state lawmakers promised to fund community based services and supports people with I/DD need to live full lives. Yet in recent years the state has failed to live up to its promise, leaving people with I/DD unsupported, isolated, and vulnerable.