Labor Shortage Causes Waiting Lists for IDD Services

March 21, 2022

1 out of 8 Full-Time Direct Support Positions Across the Country Remain Unfilled 

A new report, titled the “Case for Inclusion” issued by United Cerebral Palsy and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) depicts a harsh landscape for those in search of intellectual and developmental disability services. The problem at the forefront is a labor shortage which means individuals in this vulnerable population are struggling to find support in their communities. In fact, at the close of 2020, one out of every eight full-time direct support professional positions across the country was unfilled, a 45% increase over the previous year. The report also details that the number of people with developmental disabilities who are on waiting lists for home and community care grew by approximately 117,000 since data was last collected in 2020. Additionally, there are concerns that this number could represent an underestimate since many service providers shut down offerings or had to turn people away during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, the need could be much greater than reported in this analysis. Meanwhile, overall, “Case for Inclusion” reports that nearly 590,000 people across the nation remain on waiting lists for home and community-based services. More than 78% of these individuals reside in just five states–Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, and Illinois. Adding more pressure to the situation is that large, state-run institutions are shuttering. By 2018, 16 states and Washington, D.C. had closed all such facilities. The report also indicates that just one in five individuals with developmental disabilities are participating in integrated employment programs, a circumstance that appears to be dependent on the state where the individual resides. For instance, half of adults in this population who live in Washington, Oklahoma, Oregon and Rhode Island were receiving help to find community based employment, where only 10% or fewer were receiving similar support in Hawaii, Texas, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey.  


Original Report 

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