Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act: What People Are Saying

WASHINGTON — The Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act, introduced by Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is a direct investment in the training and employment advancement opportunities for America’s direct care workers.  Here’s what experts are saying:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO: "We support the Direct CARE Opportunity Act because it recognizes that home care workers deserve respect for the hard work they do every day to help individuals with disabilities remain independent and in their own homes. This bill will ensure that these workers who keep our most vulnerable safe and healthy receive the training, wages and opportunities for advancement they deserve."

American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR): “The [Direct Support Professionals] occupation faces a 45 percent annual turnover rate. This affects the stability of supports for individuals with disabilities and exacerbates the burnout of those who wish to keep working as DSPs. Despite the high demand for this workforce and the critical role it plays, constraints within the Medicaid system which funds disability supports have kept wages too low to retain staff, given the responsibilities of the work. The Direct CARE Opportunity Act’s grants for pipeline programs and investments in training are important first steps to addressing this crippling workforce crisis.”

The Arc: “The Direct CARE Opportunity Act will have lead to real change for the direct care workforce, that is invaluable to the disability community and the service system that relies on their abilities serve people with disabilities across the country. We thank the co-sponsors for taking on this important issue, the current workforce crisis has real life impacts on direct support professionals, and the individuals with disabilities who they support. Without consistent support from a well-paid and trained workforce, individuals with disabilities will not receive the services that they need to live meaningful lives in their communities.”

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD): “We all live interdependent lives. For people with disabilities, their right and ability to live fully in the community is supported by dedicated direct care workers. The Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott will seek to address the gaps and demands in the direct care worker profession to ultimately better provide quality care to Americans with disabilities. Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) supports the federal investments that will be made through the Direct CARE Opportunity Act.”

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities: “The Direct CARE Opportunity Act addresses the direct care workforce crisis by investing in promising strategies to recruit, retain and advance the direct care workforce pipeline. It incentivizes state, regional and local innovation to attract direct care workers such as training, career pathways, or mentoring. This legislation provides an immediate and concentrated effort to increase the direct service provider workforce so that older adults and people with disabilities can have the same freedom and liberty as everyone else.”

National Employment Law Project (NELP): “We applaud the introduction of The Direct Creation, Advancement, and Retention of Employment (CARE) Opportunity Act. This bill aims to improve working conditions for direct care workers, who provide critical services and supports that ensure older adults and people with disabilities can live independently in their homes and communities. Despite their vital work, direct care workers are grossly undervalued. By investing in the direct care workforce, we are lifting up this work and recognizing the invaluable contributions these workers make in our lives.”

Inez Hodges, a full-time home care worker in Norfolk, Va. (SEIU): “The Direct CARE Opportunity Act is a testament to the importance of home care work, and we appreciate Rep. Scott’s unwavering support. Our work isn’t easy. We work long hours on low wages, almost no benefits, and little training. A lot of compassionate people quit because it takes two and three jobs just to get by. When we suffer, our clients suffer. They deserve better, and so do we. With this bill, Rep. Scott is telling the home care workforce that we matter and deserve respect. We help loved ones live longer. This bill can help people like me provide better care to our communities’ older adults and people with disabilities.”

PHI: “By 2026, the long-term care industry will need to fill 7.8 million jobs in direct care—a sizable need created by workers who retire, exit the labor force, or leave the field for other industries, often because of poor-quality jobs. The Direct CARE Opportunity Act would help address this need, while elevating the value of direct care workers in the health and long-term care sectors, and in our economy.”

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