Sep 2, 2021

From the Superintendent


Across the country, labor shortages are affecting many industries, and disability service providers are feeling the impact. In Ohio, difficulty hiring workers is intensifying existing staffing problems for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), who support people with developmental disabilities.

This DSP staffing crisis is impacting services for people with DD, including in-home supports, transportation, day programs, and more. Although not everyone receiving services in Hamilton County has felt the effects of this crisis, we want to make you aware of the situation, share how HCDDS is working with providers to address it, and give you information to prepare and make decisions for the future.

Most DSPs in Hamilton County are employed by provider agencies. That means our local provider community is on the forefront of this crisis, working every day to make sure people are healthy, safe, and receiving the services they need. Providers and DSPs have been going to extraordinary lengths to provide critical services, including working significant overtime, having managers cover shifts, and even temporarily relocating to cover shifts in Hamilton County.

Working Together

We recognize and appreciate the incredible work being done by our Direct Support Professionals and our providers. It's important that we continue to empower providers during this time. Next week Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services will be introducing several initiatives to help offset increased costs of responding to the current staffing crisis.

This includes funding to cover a portion of overtime costs, travel expenses for those relocating to fill shifts, and some costs associated with hiring and training new DSPs. We're working closely with providers to respond to their needs, support their work, and improve services for people with developmental disabilities in our community.

These initiatives are only one piece of the solution. There is no quick or simple fix to this crisis as providers and county boards of DD across Ohio confront staffing shortages right now. We continue to partner with providers, other county boards, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and our statewide trade association on long-term solutions to the DSP crisis.

We also continue to encourage the use of remote supports and assistive technology. For many people we serve, remote support can provide the level of support and independence they need without requiring a DSP in their home. You can learn more about remote support here, or contact your service and support administrator (SSA).

You Can Help

If you want to help, the first thing you can do is make sure any DSPs in your life know they're appreciated and their work does not go unnoticed. Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week is Sept. 12-18 and a wonderful opportunity share with a DSP how much their work means to you!

Throughout that week, HCDDS will highlight how critical DSPs are to people we serve and our community. We'll also contribute funding for providers to celebrate each DSP on their team. If you would like to recognize a DSP in your life, send us your photos and words of appreciation to contactus@hamiltondds.org or find us on social media.

It's important we all recognize the difficult situation our providers are experiencing. Providers, SSAs, families, and support teams may need to consider different types of service options in the future because the required staff for those services may not exist. Please know, in spite of these challenges, we'll continue to work hard to find the best available solution for the people we support, their families, and our providers.

Become a DSP

Finally, if you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Direct Support Professional, you can learn more and find available jobs at dspohio.org/hamilton. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a shared living provider, click here. You can learn more about general provider certification here or email Angela Hayes for questions about provider certification.

We'll keep you up-to-date as we continue to address the DSP staffing shortage together. We're incredibly grateful for the work and understanding of our DSPs, providers, and families during this difficult time.

Sincerely,
Leia Snyder
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