April 15, 2024

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National Down Syndrome Society Joins Time To Care Coalition

Urging Texas Legislature to Increase Pay for Direct Support Professionals

AUSTIN, TX – In a resolute step towards championing those who care for Texans with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD), Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now is proud to announce that National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has joined the coalition, further strengthening the statewide movement to address the urgent issue of underfunding faced by direct support professionals (DSPs) who tirelessly care individuals with IDD.

The chronic underfunding of DSPs has not only compromised the quality of care provided to individuals with IDD but has also led to the regrettable closure of essential group homes, leaving many vulnerable Texans without vital support.

“Direct support professionals play a critical role in our community,” said NDSS President & CEO Kandi Pickard. “Empowering DSPs can strengthen care for individuals with Down syndrome, I/DD and any individual or family that requires a care team.”

The coalition is urging state leaders to authorize an emergency appropriations request through the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to raise the salary for community-based DSPs from $10.60 to $15 an hour. This will help address the immediate workforce crisis facing community-based DSPs, ensuring that Texans with IDD can receive the support they need.

Carole Smith, Executive Director of the Private Providers Association of Texas (PPAT) and a spokesperson for the coalition, expressed profound gratitude for the National Down Syndrome Society’s partnership, stating: “We are proud to welcome the National Down Syndrome Society to help amplify our collective voice in calling for state leaders to devote emergency funding to immediately address the workforce crisis among community-based DSPs in Texas. As our strong network of advocates grows to include outstanding national organizations like NDSS, we will continue to bring attention to the urgent need to secure the support DSPs need to continue providing quality care for the most vulnerable Texans.”

For more information on the Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now coalition and to access testimonials from advocates, family members and care providers, please click here.

Founded in 1979, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by driving policy change, providing resources, engaging with local communities, and shifting public perceptions. NDSS engages grassroots advocates at the federal, state, and local levels and creates resources to support individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and caregivers across the lifespan on topics including education, employment, health and wellness, and aging. NDSS founded the National Buddy Walk® Program in 1995 and hosts community engagement events throughout the country including the New York City Buddy Walk® and Times Square Video, the NDSS Adult Summit, and the Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference. Visit to learn more.

Time To Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now is a coalition dedicated to securing competitive wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who provide essential care to Texans with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). Through collaboration and grassroots efforts, the coalition strives to enact meaningful change at both the legislative and community levels. To learn more about how to get involved at