The Workforce Crisis is Here:We Must Fully Fund the McNesby Act in FY 2023

The Situation

In FY 2022 the Joint Finance Committee and leadership in the General Assembly recognized the dire need to make a meaningful investment in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) workforce, getting us closer to fully funding the McNesby Act.

The Problem 

Despite the increase in funding that allowed the state’s contracted partners that provide services to Delawareans with I/DD the ability to increase wages for direct service professionals, the workforce crisis continues to worsen because:

  • Rising inflation due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic is driving up costs
  •  I/DD providers still cannot compete with candidates’ demands for better pay due to starting salaries in lower-skilled workforces
  • Dedicated staff experiencing burnout are leaving the disability services industry 
  • The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services is projecting the utilization of 6.5 million hours of services

The McNesby Act

The FY 2023 recommended budget for Delaware that Governor Carney unveiled on January 27, 2022 did not include new funding for the McNesby Act. The act, which passed unanimously in 2018, mandated that the state must fully fund services for intellectual and developmental disabilities. To date, the I/DD service system is still not fully funded.

The Snowball Effect: What Happens If We Don’t Fully Fund the McNesby Act

  • Vulnerable Delawareans will not be able to access the services they need
  • Providers will continue to lose dedicated staff 
  • Staffing vacancies will continue to increase
  • Supervisory level staff will be forced to fill direct care roles, leaving middle management short-handed
  • Delaware’s rising minimum wage will continue to pull DSPs and other direct care staff in human services into less skilled and less stressful jobs
  • Delaware’s contracted partners will not have the staff to meet the 6.5 million hours of service projected for the coming fiscal year

The Solution! This Future Is Not Written … If …

The General Assembly fully funds the McNesby Act THIS YEAR! 

$16.51 million in state funding will bring rates to 100% of the benchmark determined by the 2019 DHSS rate study and fully funds the McNesby Act.

Additionally, if McNesby is fully funded, we guarantee a match of an additional $21.89 million in federal money—money we are leaving on the table by not fully funding the McNesby Act in the FY 2023 budget.

Fully funding McNesby also moves the state-reimbursed DSP wage CLOSER to the state’s $15/hour MINIMUM wage for work that is ANYTHING but minimal. These are complex healthcare professions and Delaware has a responsibility to bring all staff of contracted partners up along with less skilled, minimum wage workforces.  

Fully funding McNesby will help stabilize Delaware’s I/DD workforce this year. 

Continued investments will ensure that all people with I/DD are able to access community services and that the DSP workforce can earn a living, professional, family-sustaining wage.