Tag Archives: Personal Care Attendants-Minnesota

Direct Support Professionals – Clarification + Resources

Earlier this week this blog carried a piece about Direct Support Professionals Week which ends tomorrow. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/to-honor-and-thank-direct-support-professionals/) The intent was to honor and thank those good people who daily meet the needs of individuals with physical and mental challenges.

Unfortunately, that post contained a muddled sentence that implied the opposite of what was intended. With apologies, I want to correct any confusion and to share what was intended, i.e. that I totally support the opinions and data stated by individuals who are far more knowledgeable about what is a political football.

The fact is, those who care for our family members, friends and neighbors who are physically or mentally challenged are grossly and unfairly underpaid. In order to make that fact abundantly clear, I would cite a series of critical articles posted in recent months by Tim Benjamin, Editor of Access Press.

Though Tim has covered the issue of pay for Personal Care Attendants (Minnesota’s term for Direct Support Professionals) in numerous AP editorials, he has doubled-down in recent months, in particular since July 2016. Tim makes a compelling case that Minnesotans – all of us — need to pay heed to the fact that those who care for vulnerable Minnesotans are under–recognized, under-valued and woefully underpaid – and that this is the reason there is a woeful shortage of workers who are able, but disinclined, to meet what is not only a personal but a societal need. Click on Tim’s powerful and timely editorials starting here:


The Legislature has failed to come to grips, much less take action, on what is a public disgrace that diminishes the work of these professionals – with tragic results on the welfare of deserving residents of our state, a state that boasts of its compassion and commitment to the common good.

If you’re into data, read Dick VanWagner’s metrics-laden piece in last week’s Access Press: http://www.accesspress.org/blog/2016/09/09/by-the-numbers-is-there-really-a-shortage-of-pcas-heres-an-analysis/

Though there are other references to the issue, these are good places for each of us to learn about and frame the issue – then think about what we can do to face and remedy the crisis in care.

One priority is to follow monthly up-dates in Access Press –free and readily accessible at countless public newsstands that we pass by every day.  Click here to learn more about AP (http://www.accesspress.org) or subscribe to the online edition here: http://www.accesspress.org/subscribe/.

Read it and learn!


To Honor, Thank and Support Direct Support Professionals

As noted in previous posts, “Poking Around” peaks after Labor Day – which means that events and tributes slip by unheralded. “Better late than never” rules in this tardy reminder that we are now mid-week in Direct Support Professionals Week, which began last Sunday and continues through September 17.

In Minnesota Direct Support Professionals are generally referred to as Personal Care Attendants; PCA’s are “the primary providers of publicly-funded, long-term support services” for hundreds of Minnesotans with mental or physical disabilities. Caregivers assure that those in their care remember their meds, navigate public transit, get to the hairdresser or the grocery story, exercise, have books to read and a comfortable and healthy environment.

More than this, these professionals assure that individuals with disabilities lead lives that are productive, successful and independent. Most often, these committed care providers establish close, respectful, trusting relations with individuals in their care.   In the end, people with disabilities, their families and Minnesota taxpayers are able to avoid or diminish the financial burden of institutional care.

As a frequent bus rider I observe almost daily the mutually beneficial collaboration between individuals with disabilities and their care provider.   Recently I reflected in this blog on my State Fair observations of the ways in which care givers – as well as friends and family members — are expanding options for those who depend on assistance to enjoy the unique experience afforded by the Great Minnesota Get-Together. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/category/minnesota/minnesota-state-fair/)

As everyone knows, an aging population magnifies and underscores the need for more Direct Support Professionals. As a society we need to understand the challenge faced people who choose this profession — above all, to be paid a living wage!   It is also so important that PCA’s are treated with respect, recognized for the work they do, and genuinely appreciated for the many ways in which they enrich the lives of women, men and children whose lives need a bit of assistance. The care provided by a Direct Support Professional will support and enrich their lives and the ways in which they able to share their energy, creativity, strength, vision and can-do attitude with their families and friends, their communities and society.

More about PCA’s in Minnesota:

Find the basics of Minnesota Personal Care Attendants here:


Governor Dayton has issued a Proclamation declaring September 11-17 as Direct Support Professionals Week. https://state.mn.us/governor/assets/Direct_Support_Professionals_Week.pdf_tcm1055-94210.pdf

The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) at the University of Minnesota sponsors a Direct Support Task Force http://rtc.umn.edu/rtc/