Note: This Superintendent’s Message accompanies the spring edition of the LCBDD newsletter Momentum, which will be available in August If you would like to receive this newsletter and be added to our mailing list, contact Anna Jeffries at 740-322-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a digital PDF version of the newsletter, click here.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our agency began using the hashtag #DSPHeroes.
During normal times, direct support professionals, also known as DSPs, are the foundation of Ohio’s DD system, providing essential services to people with disabilities, and often their families as well. During the pandemic, they were lifelines for so many and often risked their own lives to keep people with disabilities safe and healthy.
We wanted to make sure, that even on social media, we were taking every opportunity we could to show our gratitude for all they have done. As we move into this new phase of the pandemic, our heroes need our support more than ever.
As we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19, it has become increasingly clear that many industries across our state are struggling to find employees. The provider agencies who employ many of Licking County’s DSPs are certainly impacted, facing the worst staffing crisis in recent memory.
On July 21, LCBDD sent a letter to many of the people we support, as well as our community partners, about the effects DSP shortages could have on the services they receive. Our LCBDD Service Coordinators will be having conversations in the coming days with people whose providers are no longer able to serve them in traditional ways. They simply don’t have enough DSPs to continue to provide all of the support needed.
Honesty and transparency are cornerstones of our agency, and it is important to us that our community understands how this situation is impacting the people and families we support.
Our message to them is, you are not alone while having these challenging conversations. Your LCBDD Service Coordinator will be there to help you navigate this uncertain time and brainstorm “out of the box” solutions.
To the DSPs and provider agencies in our county, we want you to know that we stand with you and LCBDD is committed to doing everything in our power to support our #DSPHeroes.
We know we are stronger when we work together, so we ask our caring community to join us in being part of the solution. There are things you can do to help that can truly make a difference.
Although we know there are no quick fixes, we are in this for the long haul. We owe it to the people we support, and the dedicated DSPs who have already sacrificed so much. It is our hope that our caring community will help us spread the word about a significant need and a very worthy cause. As always, we thank you for your continued support.
Contact Superintendent/CEO Jason L. Umstot by calling 740-349-6588 or email: Jason.Umstot@lcountydd.org.