Across Illinois, thousands of developmentally disabled people are leading full, productive lives, thanks to group homes and their caring staffs. Yet, finding and keeping direct service professionals, known as D.S.P.’s is becoming more difficult because of long hours and low pay. As WGN’s Steve Sanders reports, Illinois’ budget crisis is quickly becoming a caregiver crisis for some of the state’s most vulnerable people.
There are some 27,000 direct service professionals in Illinois who are anxiously awaiting how this plays out, as lawmakers scramble to avoid going into a third year without a state budget. But, even if compromise can be reached before July 1st, the Governor vetoed a bill last year because raises would have to be part of a balanced budget. House Speaker Mike Madigan is holding a series of public budget hearings around the state this month. The first one is in Chicago on Thursday, June 8th.
Producer Pam Grimes and photojournalist Mike D'Angelo contributed to this report