The system of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) has come a long way in the last 30 years — from segregated care in remote institutions to a robust and varied network of community supports. This progress took decades and was not inevitable. It was achieved through persistent advocacy on multiple levels. It took lifting the voices of people with disabilities and family members, litigation and legal action to secure rights, federal legislation that codified the values of inclusion and access, and building a body of research and evidence-based best practices.
All the progress toward community living that has been made in services for people with IDD over decades is now in jeopardy — because of catastrophic labor shortages and pervasive high turnover rates in the workforce that supports them, direct support professionals (DSPs). This white paper from the Institute of Community Integration (ICI) and its partners at the Human Services Research Institute and the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services provides an overview of the depth of the crisis in the workforce and the impact on people with IDD and sounds the alarm about the nature and scope of the workforce crisis in the IDD service system.