Our Legislative Priorities

1. Appropriate competitive rates for community providers that serve Missourians with Disabilities

(DMH Budget, Section 10.410)

Allocate $86 million GR for DD Rate Standardization (DMH Budget, Section 10.410)

  • Solve the DSP crisis by fixing outdated reimbursement rates to ensure community providers have the resources to compete for essential direct care staff by paying wages that reflect the rising minimum wage

Fully Fund Employment Services for Individuals with Disabilities

  • DMH-DD supported employment services
  • DESE-Vocational Rehabilitation employment services

What is a Direct Support Professional?

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) is an essential healthcare worker who supports people with disabilities to live and work with independence in the community.

Over 15,000 Missourians work as a DSP.

Typical job duties include: medical and behavioral supports, hands-on personal assistance, job coaching, skills building, and crisis prevention and intervention.

Average starting wage for DSPs as of 2018: $9.95/hr.
Missouri minimum wage in 2021: $10.30/hr.

Missouri Direct Support Professionals Are in Crisis


access a form of government assistance


job vacancy


SNAP benefits


leave within a year


in Medicaid


turnover rate

Watch a Video About the DSP Crisis

We Need to Fully Fund Provider Rates in Missouri


1 in 4 direct service providers live in poverty


Missourians with with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) receive residential services


For every $1.00 of State funding invested into this system, $4.35 of economic activity is generated


Providers in Missouri serve more than 15,000 children and adults with IDD

2. Ensure Missourians with disabilities have the opportunity to work in a competitive, integrated setting as the first and preferred choice

Establish Employment First legislation for the State of Missouri

Maintain Missouri’s status as a Model Employer for people with disabilities

What is Employment First?

Employment first is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace and community in which community-based, competitive integrated employment is the first and preferred outcome for employment services for persons with disabilities.


Seventy-five percent of Missourians with cognitive disabilities are unemployed.


For every $1.00 invested in employment services, Missouri saves an additional $1.46 and bolsters taxable


Twenty-two other states in the US have passed Employment First legislation