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Action Needed to Recognize Direct Support Professionals
August 15, 2013

The 2013 Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is September 8-15. The US Senate has issued a proclamation for this week. RCPA has asked Governor Corbett to issue a Pennsylvania proclamation in recognition of direct support workers. In addition, members who employ direct support professionals (DSPs) in the intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities systems are asked 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 these staff members provide. The publicity generates public support for community services and may be influential with state legislators, who will face another challenging budget year for 2014/15.

To assist our members in this effort, RCPA has developed several templates which may be customized by each agency for use to reach out to the public and media:

  • A request letter for counties- This letter requests that a county or locality designate September 8-15 as DSP Week. The request should be sent, along with the sample proclamation and sample resolution, as soon as possible.
  • A sample proclamation and sample resolution- The proclamation is similar to the one that RCPA sent to the governor’s office and that the American Network of Community Options and Resources, RCPA’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. The resolution can also be used by your board of directors.
  • A reporter/editor pitch email- This email is designed to be sent on August 30 to alert the media that DSP Week is approaching and asksthem to consider writing a story about your agency’s DSPs. Members are asked to send the email to any reporter or editor in their regions. If information is needed about local media sources, please contact Steve Neidlinger, membership and marketing coordinator at 717-364-3280.
  • A sample press release- The press release announcing DSP Week is to be sent September 3. The press release is aimed at smaller publications that cannot assign a reporter to write a story. This includes community newspapers, radio stations, and any other local media outlet.

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 role of the DSP. RCPA is also interested in featuring agency recognition activities about DSP staff in future issues of RCPA News. Please share your stories and photos with Linda Drummond.

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