CHICAGO – Recognizing the dedication of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of all ages, Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed the week of September 12-18 Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Illinois.
“It is important that people with disabilities are able to maintain their independence by residing within the community,” said Governor Quinn. “Illinois’ direct support professionals provide the care and support people who have disabilities need in order to remain in their homes, surrounded by family and friends.”
Direct support professionals include direct care workers, personal assistants, in-home support workers, and paraprofessionals. They are the primary providers of publicly-funded long term care and support for thousands of individuals in Illinois. Direct support professionals assist individuals with disabilities with their most intimate needs on a daily basis, and must build a close, trusting relationship with those they serve.
Direct support professionals provide a broad range of support, including preparation of meals, helping with medications, bathing, dressing, mobility, getting to school, work, religious and recreational activities, and other general daily affairs.
“The majority of direct support professionals are employed in home and community-based settings and we expect this trend to increase in the coming years,” said Grace Hong Duffin, Acting Secretary for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). “We value their dedication and commitment to caring for people with disabilities. Direct support professionals play a key role in the services IDHS provides for thousands of our customers.”
Earlier this year, more than 30,000 personal assistants who work for the IDHS Home Services Program received a 75 cent raise to $11.20 an hour and were given healthcare benefits under their collective bargaining agreement.