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Investing in Direct Support Professionals 


New Study Highlights the Value of Investing in Direct Support Professionals 

New Study
A new study on the economic impact of Direct Support Professionals in North Carolina has found that investing in increasing the wages of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who serve people with I/DD, as well as increasing access to DSPs though additional Innovations waiver slots, yields substantial economic benefits to the State of North Carolina.

Funds spent on improvements in wages and access tend to be spent in local communities boosting housing, retail, and services, as well as increasing business activity associated with growing the health services industry. The study reports that “for every dollar spent in this community, the total economic output is increased by $1.68 for North Carolina. This could alternatively be interpreted as for every dollar spent on the DSP workforce, there is an additional 68 cents generated in economic output in North Carolina. Given the federal match, the resulting impact for every dollar allocated by the State of NC will be $5.04.” 

Direct Support Professionals provide direct support to people on the autism spectrum and others with developmental disabilities. Low wages for DSPs have been a barrier for people with I/DD accessing services: market competition for workers in services jobs has made low-wage jobs like DSPs difficult to fill, and left people with I/DD without people to provide direct care. Rates for services that employ DSPs have only recently been raised to a level that allows for a $16.00 or more per hour pay range with state and federal appropriations falling short of needed investments. In North Carolina, 17,500 people are on a waiting list for Innovations waiver home and community-based services for people with I/DD.  


Link to North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities report announcement: https://nccdd.org/news-media/blog/54-initiatives/1455-nccdd-the-arc-of-north-carolina-release-economic-impact-of-i-dd-community-report.html  

Link to report: https://nccdd.org/images/2024/Initiatives/DSPStudy/A_Preliminary_Report_on_the_Economic_Impact of_the_IDD Community_FINAL_March_2024.pdf  

Link to ASNC Policy Update blog:

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