A Message from Jonathan Routhier, CEO of CSNI:

Earlier today, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives defeated HB387 by a margin of one vote. This bill would have provided a much needed rate increase to providers in the Developmental Services system, which has not seen a rate increase since 2008 and has been experiencing serious challenges in the recruitment of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).

As of February 28, 2017, there were over 200 vacancies statewide for (DSPs). DSPs, and their front-line supervisors, provide the vast majority of supportive services to individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders, and on average earn a wage around $12.00 per hour. DSPs are the individuals who have responsibility for the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. DSPs provide assistance with bathing, feeding, dressing, hygiene, medication administration, housekeeping, transportation, access to the community, employment support, attending medical appointments, and other important activities of daily living.

The relationship between a DSP and an individual receiving supports is one that is based on trust that the DSP will do whatever it takes to keep the individual safe, healthy, and active in the community in ways that are meaningful and dignifying to the individual and his or her family. This is an incredible responsibility, and one that many fulfill despite knowing that they could be earning thousands of dollars more annually working at their local fast food restaurant or box store retailer. Unfortunately, many dedicated DSPs have had to leave the profession because the rate of pay has not kept up with inflation in housing, transportation and food costs. Since the last rate increase in 2008, the cost of living has increased 21%.

While NH’s House of Representatives voted against this bill, we urge our legislators to provide funding for a rate increase in their version of the state budget. Without such funding, our state’s ability to provide the necessary services to those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, and acquired brain disorders, will be in jeopardy as wait lists grow, and fewer workers enter the field.