by: Taylor Goldenstein

Posted: March 25, 2024

Sometimes Rochelle Rojas contemplates leaving her job as a personal care worker for Texans with disabilities to get a higher-paying job, maybe somewhere like McDonalds or in retail.

But then she thinks about how one of her clients, a woman in her 20s with Down syndrome, cried for days the last time Rojas couldn’t show up to work because she had COVID-19. 

“I had to video chat her on my good days because she was distraught,” said Rojas, 45, who is the home supervisor of a group home in Amarillo. “That’s the quality of care we give … We’re family.”

On Monday, a newly formed coalition of Texas disability advocates made an emergency request for about $66 million in state funds to immediately boost the wages of care workers in group homes like Rojas.

The nonprofit, Time to Care: Save Texas Caregivers Now, is asking state lawmakers to raise their pay from $10.60 to $15 an hour on average.