RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


Action Needed to Recognize Direct Support Professionals
August 12, 2011

Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is September 11-18. Governor Corbett will issue a Pennsylvania proclamation in recognition of direct support workers.

PCPA asks members employing Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities systems to contact local media outlets and county governments to generate coverage of DSP Week. It is crucial that community providers remind the public of the important work of these staff. The publicity generated enlists public support of community services and positively reflects with state legislators, who will face another tough budget season in 2012/13.

To assist in this effort, PCPA has developed several templates for use to reach out to the media:

  • A request letter for counties: This letter requests that a county or locality designate September 11-18 as DSP Week. The request should be sent, along with the sample proclamation/resolution, as soon as possible.
  • A sample proclamation: This proclamation/resolution is similar to one that PCPA sent to the governor’s office and that ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources), PCPA’s federal counterpart for intellectual and developmental disabilities services, has sent to the US Congress. It should be sent with the request letter to county or local officials.
  • A reporter/editor pitch email:  This email is designed to be sent on or around August 30 to alert the media that DSP Week is approaching and asking them to consider writing a story. Members are asked to send the email to any reporter or editor in their region. If information is needed about local media sources, please contact Steve Neidlinger (steve@paproviders.org or 717-364-3280).
  • A sample press release:  The press release is designed to be sent on or about September 5 announcing DSP Week. The press release is aimed at smaller publications that cannot assign a reporter to write a story. These include community newspapers, radio stations, and any other local media outlet. PCPA will be sending a statewide press release, but stories are more likely to appear when concerning people in the publication’s region.
Members are asked to customize the pitch letter and press release to include agency information and an anecdote that describes the agency’s services and the job of a DSP.  Members interested in having PCPA review its email and press release may send it to Steve Neidlinger. PCPA is also interested in featuring stories about DSP staff in the September and future issues of Provider News. Please share your stories and photos with Linda Drummond or Steve Neidlinger. The deadline for the September newsletter is August 24.

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