One week each year we have the opportunity to celebrate Direct Support Professionals (DSP). During the week of September 12, 2021, we recognize the critical role that DSPs play in the lives of each and every Home and Community Based Services program participant. DSPs deserve recognition for all they do throughout the year; without them this level of care would be impossible. “MRCI is so grateful for the DSPs supporting our clients” says Samantha Frederick, Director of CDS at MRCI. “Their time, dedication, and advocacy mean the world to the people they help every day.” The past two years have been full of challenges and changes for the DSP workforce, and they have remained steadfast in providing care for the people who count on them.
One of the past year’s biggest questions surrounding DSPs/PCAs is what impact the transition to Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) is going to have on their role? As many are already aware, the programs of PCA, both Choice and Traditional, as well as Consumer Support Grant (CSG) will be transitioning to CFSS at the end of 2021. For workers, CFSS will largely resemble the programs that they are used to with a few changes. Participants in CFSS will still have the option to select, hire, train, and manage their own employees to meet their assessed needs.
People currently receiving care through the PCA Choice program will find greater flexibility in who they are able hire to provide care under CFSS. Except for a period of emergency legislation that ended in February 2021, a spouse was not able to provide PCA services to their partner nor was a parent of a minor participant. Unlike PCA Choice, a CFSS worker can be a provide care for their spouse or be a paid parent of a minor. Individuals using programs like CFSS have unique skills and abilities which should not limit their work possibilities, under CFSS a participant can also be a worker for others who utilize the CFSS program.
While there are still several unknowns in the transition to CFSS, one thing is for sure: the care provided by DSPs will continue to be vital for individuals using these programs. As things change, MRCI will be here to help our clients, families and workers navigate CFSS and any other changes that come their way.
Direct Support Professionals are heroes to each person they support. We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for all that you do each and every day. Happy DSP Appreciation Week from all of us at MRCI Client Directed Services!
Are you looking for rewarding career opportunities? MRCI can help meet your needs. Visit https://www.mrcicds.org/ to learn more about our careers throughout the state.