Fighting for Caregivers at the Minnesota Capitol

Here is a repost of a blog article I recently submitted to the Direct Care Alliance:

Fight for Direct Care Worker Raises Gaining Ground in Minnesota

Bridget Siljander

Minnesota caregivers—also known as direct care workers or direct support professionals—have been fighting for many years to get the support that they need to continue doing the work that they love. Now that fight is gaining momentum in a big way, thanks to the 5% Campaign the Minnesota disability community is uniting around. The campaign is asking legislators for a 5% increase in funding for home and community-based services, 75% of which will go toward compensating caregivers. The funding would go to two state programs: Home and Community-Based Services and Intermediate Care Facilities for Developmental Disabilities.

Last month, people with disabilities, direct care workers and other advocates gathered for Disability Day at the Capitol. Minnesota Public Radio and Kare11, our local news station, both covered the event. Kare11 quoted Pam Gonnella of Eagan, whose daughter lives in a group home, about how important the workers there are to her daughter’s well-being. “Which is why it’s so important to raise wages and cut down on the turnover at group homes and home based agencies,” Eagan said. 

In order for caregivers to continue doing work that we have chosen and would like to continue doing, we need adequate support. The raise made possible by the 5% increase will be a starting point on the path toward a living wage, an important part of what is needed in order to ensure availability of quality services for vulnerable Americans.

The campaign may already have had an effect on the state senate’s health and human services committee, which recently approved a bill that would give home care workers a 5 percent raise and increase pay for nursing home workers who earn less than $14 an hour. According to The Bemidji Pioneer, the bill is expected to be folded into a budget bill that was passed last year.

Learn more

Wednesday Wonk: The 5% Campaign

Testimony about what direct care workers have made possible for a man who receives direct care services

 

Here is an update: Governor Dayton is committed to raising caregiver pay.

Thank you for reading about these important issues. Caregivers are essential to our community infrastructure, and need to be invested in to become sustainable.

Stay tuned! 🙂

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