Sweeney Praises Grants for ‘Congregate Care’ Providers
Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney praised the announced distribution of $9 million in emergency assistance to congregate care providers, giving these direct support professionals in group homes and other residential facilities desperately needed aid to care for those with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
The grants from the Department of Children and Family will go to providers of children’s residential treatment, and shelter services for children and families across the state. These shelters care for children with behavioral and developmental needs, survivors of domestic violence, parents seeking help with substance use disorder, and adolescents transitioning out of foster care to independent living.
“Direct Service Professional workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, putting themselves at great personal risk every day to care for those in need,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Whether they are caring for adults or children, they all care for the most vulnerable in our communities and the crucial role they play in keeping our communities healthy has never been clearer.”
These providers have incurred additional costs during the pandemic, including additional staffing costs related to increased child supervision during daytime shifts, the purchase and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment to staff, and heightened cleaning and sanitization of facilities. These emergency funds will be used to offset those additional costs of care.
“The challenges they face are even greater during this health crisis,” said Senator Sweeney. “Providing all of these heroic workers a wage increase is the right and moral thing to do. They are often paid minimum wage and yet are responsible for caring for our most fragile populations. These grants help to acknowledge just how valuable they really are.”
In April Governor Murphy raised the wage of certain DSP workers but left out those who care for children with autism, developmental or intellectual disabilities in group homes. These grants will help address their needs.