Advocates Applaud Governor Quinn for Proclaiming Sept. 8-14 ‘Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week’ in Illinois

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Recognizing Governor Quinn for his support of 23,000 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) throughout the State, The Care Campaign—a coalition of industry leaders, workers and their unions and supporters—generates awareness for the need to increase DSP wages.

Often struggling below the poverty line, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are “the key to allowing individuals with disabilities to live successfully in the community” as stated in Proclamation 13-306 in the Illinois Register filed Friday of last week.

“Direct support professionals are the backbone of the human service system in Illinois,” said Michelle R. B. Saddler, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. “I am pleased to join Governor Quinn in recognizing the dedication of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of all ages.”

DSPs assist in the development of daily living skills for individuals with disabilities.

“It’s an often difficult and challenging job and the people who serve in this role should be able to provide for their own families,” said Shawn E. Jeffers, Executive Director of Little City Foundation. “And we’re grateful to the Governor for asking Illinois citizens to recognize and appreciate the hard work of DSPs.”

According to a recent Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF) salary survey, the average direct-support wage in Illinois is $9.35 per hour—21 percent below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty threshold of $11.32 for a family of four. Community-based developmental disability agencies haven’t had a cost-of-doing-business increase in the state’s reimbursement rate since 2007.

Research shows that raising wages for employees who perform the challenging work of supporting individuals with disabilities ensures less employee turnover, strengthens the sustainability of nonprofit organizations and improves the quality of services provided.

Service provider agencies, parents, family members, individuals with disabilities, the media and all citizens are encouraged to celebrate “DSP Recognition Week” by signing the petition in support of raising the average wage for direct-care workers to $13 an hour at:

For more information, visit: or on Facebook at or follow the Campaign on Twitter @CareCampaignHQ.

Members of the media may contact Lisa Hoffmann at lhoffmann(at)littlecity(dot)org or 847-772-1129.


About the Care Campaign
The Care Campaign is a historic coalition of service providers, workers and their unions, associations and individuals who came together in January 2013 to begin working on a wage increase for direct care workers in Illinois. For more information, visit

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Lisa Hoffmann
Little City Foundation
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