In his 2024-25 state budget address on February 6, 2024, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro proposed a historic investment
in intellectual disability and autism (ID/A) services. The proposal includes over $480 million to bolster home and community-based service providers, enabling them to offer competitive wages to attract and retain skilled Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). As one of many disability service providers in the state, we are thrilled to hear our priorities named so definitively in front of both houses of our state congress.
Also in attendance for the address was a family experiencing the strain of the current disability service system first-hand. Single mother Cindy and Grandmother Judy are caregivers for Matthew – an adult living with a disability. The governor passionately articulated the challenges faced by families like theirs, stating, "Imagine… You're 60 years old, caring for your adult child with disabilities and not getting any support to offset the cost." Shapiro would go on to refer to the family several more times during this portion of his speech, as if to put a face to a cause for the legislators in attendance.
Their attendance was especially important because InVision's Founder & President, Ruth Siegfried, along with Cindy, Judy, and Matthew, played a pivotal role in shaping this outcome through a compelling visit to the governor's office in June 2023
. We believe this meeting, facilitated by InVision's Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy, Gary Blumenthal, left a lasting impression on Governor Shapiro and underscored the urgency of addressing the funding gaps in disability services in this year’s budget proposal. Before transitioning to his next budget priority, he stated, "Let's make this the year we get it done for Cindy, Judy, and Matthew and the thousands of others like them across Pennsylvania. Let's do this work together."
As we celebrate this milestone, it's essential to recognize the significance of Governor Shapiro's commitment to supporting disability service providers, DSPs, as well as people experiencing disabilities and their families. We urge you to act by reaching out to the governor and your legislators
– thanking the governor for including our priorities in his address and asking your legislators for their support of this crucial initiative. Let them know that you stand behind this part of the proposed budget and advocate for its swift approval.
Together, we can help ensure that Cindy, Judy, Matthew, those we support, our DSPs, and countless others across Pennsylvania receive the care and pay they deserve, respectively. Let's seize this opportunity to make a meaningful difference!