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Friday, October 21, 2022

Worsening Shortage of Direct Support Professionals

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.  One is a shortage of caregivers and direct support professionals, which is likely to get worse.  

For the third consecutive year, ANCOR has measured the impact of the direct support workforce crisis on community providers and their ability to provide high-quality community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Although our research indicates that this was a significant challenge long before the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the 2022 State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis confirms that these problems have not only been amplified by the pandemic but are also at the root of service and program closures, service launch delays, struggles adhering to quality standards and more. The results of our 2022 survey reveal that this workforce emergency is now to the point of denying access to services and further threatening the quality of services for people with I/DD.

Over the course of a four-week period beginning in August 2022, ANCOR fielded a survey across its provider network that garnered 718 responses. In the broadest terms, what we found is that providers are unable to attract and retain DSPs at a rate that, if left unaddressed, has the potential to completely collapse the system of services as we know it.

Key findings from ANCOR’s 2022 State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis survey include that:
  • 83% of providers are turning away new referrals, a 25.8% increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • 63% of providers are discontinuing programs and services, a staggering 85.3% increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • 92% of providers are struggling to achieve quality standards, a 33.3% increase since the beginning of the pandemic and a 13.6% increase in the last year alone.
  • 71% of case managers are struggling to find available providers, citing difficulty to connect families to long-term services and supports due to lack of available providers.