Press Release

September 15, 2017
Cardin, Collins Lead Senate in 10th Annual Recognition of Direct Support Professionals

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have joined together again to recognize the hard work of direct support professionals with a Senate resolution, S. Res. 258. The resolution was passed as a cap to the celebratory week that ran September 10 through 16. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are an invaluable part of our Nation’s health care system, caring for the most vulnerable Americans, including the chronically ill, seniors, and those living with a disability. With the help of Direct Support Professionals, these individuals can perform daily activities that many people take for granted, such as eating, bathing, dressing, and leaving the house. The work of Direct Support Professionals ensures that these individuals can be active participants in their communities.

“As our population continues to grow and age, the demand for DSPs and other home-and community-based services will increase to address evolving health care needs. We are incredibly fortunate to have millions of service-oriented Americans who are willing to rise to the task of becoming a Direct Support Professional,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Finance Health Care Subcommittee. “I thank Maryland’s Direct Support Professionals and the many more across America for all they do to ensure our families, friends and neighbors can live with dignity and comfort. The quality of home and community-based services and overall patient experience truly lies in their hands.”

“Direct Support Professionals play an essential role in our communities by providing those in need with critical support that leads to more independent living and a better quality of life,” said Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. “The ‘National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week’ Resolution ensures that these professionals are getting the recognition they deserve.  I was pleased to join Senator Cardin in co-authoring this resolution and I thank all National Direct Support Professionals for their hard work and dedication.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of DSPs is projected to grow by an average of 26 percent from 2014 to 2024, compared to a seven percent average growth rate for all occupations during that period. Unfortunately, direct support professionals are often forced to leave the jobs they love due to low wages and excessive, difficult, work hours. Many Direct Support Professionals rely on public benefits, and some must work multiple jobs in order to provide for themselves and their families. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work to ensure that these hard-working individuals have the income and emotional support they need and deserve.

In addition to Senators Cardin and Collins, the resolution marking Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week was cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal  (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Angus King (I-Maine), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).