Editorial: Support those who support the most vulnerable


Direct Support Professional Jennifer Moran, left, and group home supervisor Angie Rogers help a client get ready for the day Monday, April 23, 2018 at a facility run by Arc of the Quad-Cities Area in Rock Island, which provides services for people with disabilities.

Kevin E. Schmidt

Often, we don’t see them. But across the Quad-Cities, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who toil each day making life livable for some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

They help the disabled and elderly with the most basic tasks – dressing, preparing food, bathing. In many cases, they enable them to join the workforce.

Unfortunately, our society doesn’t pay a wage that shows just how valuable their work is. Nationally, the average wage just a few years ago for such workers was $11.52 per hour, or $16,200 per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

As you might expect, such wages don’t attract people to stay in these jobs for very long. Sure, there are some who dedicate themselves to this work, to the people they help, and they stick with it. But far too often, they leave for better-paying jobs, sometimes at a fast-food restaurant or some other position that may not be as satisfying but pays more and, frankly, isn’t as difficult. Because, let’s face it, this is hard work. Get to know somebody who does the job, and they’ll tell you the challenges in dealing with people with special needs.

Still, even with millions of this country’s most vulnerable depending on these people for their very well being, they are offered little in return, at least relative to their worth.

We have a chance to change that. A piece of the $3.5 trillion social spending proposal offered by President Joe Biden would spend $400 billion over 10 years on home and community based services in the Medicaid program, with an emphasis on providing better pay for caregivers.

City: Quad Cities,Feeds,News,QC,Region: QC

via The Quad-City Times

September 12, 2021 at 08:05AM

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