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North Carolina enacts plan to address severe shortage of disability support workers

North Carolina enacts plan to address severe shortage of disability support workers

North Carolina enacts plan to address severe shortage of disability support workers

North Carolina is stepping up efforts to address the shortage of direct support professionals (DSPs), who provide home- and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

In June, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a multi-year plan aimed at addressing what it calls a critical shortage of DSPs. The goal is to improve recruitment, retention and training strategies.

Among the initiatives, the state will soon launch an awareness campaign targeting high school and community college students. To that end, the state will partner with community colleges to implement curriculum and certification programs, with the promise of scholarships to cover tuition and other fees. It will also offer grants for provider recruitment and retention.

NCDHHS will advance its goals next year by expanding existing initiatives and exploring new approaches to growing the workforce.

Portions of the comprehensive workforce plan address directives from a recent consent order stemming from a lawsuit against NCDHHS and the state of North Carolina. The 2017 lawsuit was filed on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were unable to access needed services in their communities.