CRSI celebrates valued workforce

Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week, September 7-13, is part of the American Network of Community Options and Resources’ (ANCOR), whose mission is to enhance the lives of all people with disabilities who rely on long-term supports and services. The campaign is about obtaining the resources to recruit, train and retain a highly qualified and sustainable workforce. This is the seventh consecutive year the U.S. Senate has approved a resolution designating National Direct Support Recognition Week.

Of the 1,230 current employees at CRSI, 1,045 are part of a valued workforce known as DSPs. It is the direct care staff that delivers the wide-range of services to the consumer or customer who has chosen CRSI as their provider. These numbers continuously fluctuate based on need, but signify the very essence of what the agency does for individuals living with challenges.

CRSI has been providing developmental disability (DD) services since 1976. Established in Champaign County on a very small grassroots level, it has grown many times over. Mergers and other factors have added as many as 35 counties to CRSI’s area of service over the years. Currently the agency serves nearly 800 individuals in 28 counties.

CRSI is a member of ANCOR and embraces its National Advocacy Campaign to promote higher wages for direct care staff. Wages that have been frozen for nearly a decade by legislators who determine the rates of pay that is reimbursable to providers. Without the ability to be reimbursed for these support hours of service, providers like CRSI cannot afford to increase beyond the maximum wage allowed.

Direct care employees, the people who provide care and build client trust, carrying out the mission and philosophy for which CRSI stands, are locked into a very low hourly wage that is being lobbied for change all across the country on the state and national levels.

CRSI has participated in all state and national efforts to implement change for its Valued Workforce.