Note: This Superintendent’s Message accompanies the fall edition of the LCBDD newsletter Momentum, which will be distributed in mid-November. If you would like to receive this newsletter and be added to our mailing list, contact Anna Jeffries at 740-322-6911 or email@example.com. For a digital PDF version of the newsletter, click here.
At the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, we strive to be proactive leaders beyond our community.
So it’s always exciting when we get to share our experiences on a statewide level.
On Sept. 27, I was offered one of those opportunities at Bridge2Equality, a rally at the Ohio Statehouse that brought stakeholders together to raise awareness of the critical need for direct support professionals, or DSPs.
I was honored to speak on behalf of the Ohio Association of County Boards — sharing the story of how I started my career as a DSP while discussing the current workforce crisis.
Over the past five decades, we have seen dramatic changes in supports for people with disabilities. We have shifted to a person-centered focus allowing people to live in less-restrictive settings, take control over their decisions and live fulfulling lives based on what they want.
This is possible because of the commitment from DSPs who are supporting people at home, helping them find employment and connecting them with their communities.
Nationwide, we are seeing a shortage of DSPs and Ohio is no exception. So I was thrilled to see supporters from across our field come together at Bridge2Equality to work toward solutions.
Since the rally in September, Bridge2Equality has continued to gain strength, evolving into a grassroots movement that will continue to advocate for DSPs and raise awareness about their important work.
I was thrilled to be asked to serve on its newly formed board and look forward to seeing how this new organization can form partnerships around the state.
If we all work together, I truly believe that we can strengthen the foundation of our system.
To learn more about Bridge2Equality, go to bridge2equality.com or check out their Facebook page.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a DSP, contact the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities at 740-349-6588 and ask to speak to DSP Eligibility Specialist Brandi Body.
Contact Superintendent/CEO Jason L. Umstot by calling 740-349-6588 or email Jason.Umstot@lcountydd.org.