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June 20, 2018

Community Provider Network of Rhode Island to recognize Direct Support Professionals of the Year

The Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) has announced that they will celebrate the contributions and tireless work of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) during National DSP Recognition Week from September 10 – 16, 2017.

The DSP recognition week activities aim to highlight the importance of DSPs in providing quality care to people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) across RI, and actions state leaders can take to address this crisis.

State Representative Teresa Tanzi (D, District 34 – Narragansett, Wakefield, and Peace Dale), a champion of raising the wages for DSPs, identified the challenges DSPs face as a profession in RI as a critical need that must be elevated through efforts like DSP recognition week.

“Hourly rates of pay for DSPs in RI are not competitive and have set the state on a path toward crisis, as our neighboring states have made the commitment to provide $15 per hour by June of next year.  Underpaying DSPs can lead to inconsistent care and high turnover, which ultimately costs more to the state in the form of more intensive placements as individuals regress or fail to progress with each staffing change,” Representative Tanzi stated in a news release announcing the celebration.

DSP Recognition Week is a part of CPNRI’s campaign to support and better serve members of RI’s ID/DD community. This week is celebrated annually across the country with special events and ceremonies like these, specifically to honor the tens of thousands of workers who enable people with intellectual, developmental, and other significant disabilities and their families to live healthy lives in their communities.

The week will culminate with the annual DSP Recognition Awards honoring DSPs of the year from each member of the agency of CPNRI on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at the Roger Williams Casino from 5pm-9pm.  The awards reception will feature remarks from state policy leaders, and serve to honor the work of direct support professionals who provide services to people with ID/DD in our community.  Attendees will include DSP of the year awardees, awardees receiving special recognitions, public officials, and individuals supported by the agencies that comprise CPNRI and their families.

Governor Gina Raimondo will declare, via Gubernatorial proclamation, the week as Direct Support Professional week in Rhode Island, thereby recognizing the important work of the thousands of DSPs who enable people with ID/DD to live happier and more fulfilled lives. Several states have issued Gubernatorial Proclamations declaring the week of September 10 – 16 as the 2017 National Direct Support Recognition Week. A U.S. Senate Resolution led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is anticipated soon.