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Advocacy lies at the heart of the mission of Prince George's Provider Council. Through advocacy, we demonstrate our commitment to supporting member agencies and the families they serve. Annually, the Provider Council engages with elected representatives at the Prince George's County Council to address critical issues that impact the lives of those within the intellectual and developmental disabilities community.

One of the key advocacy issues that has been at the forefront of our work in the past year is the County DSP Grant Supplement. Recognizing the vital role that direct support professionals (DSPs) play in the community, the Provider Council embarked on a significant advocacy campaign in 2023 to secure an increase in the grant. The primary goal was to enhance the wages of DSPs.

The Provider Council, along with its member agencies and supported families, actively participated in the legislative process. At the invitation of Health, Human Services, and Public Safety Committee Chair Krystal Oriadha, the Council provided testimony during the 2023 legislative period. This testimony served as a platform for providers, DSPs, and families to voice their concerns and share their stories.

The team discussed critical areas including the pressing need for increased wages, staffing shortages, and the challenges faced by families in accessing services due to these shortages. All of this was heighted by the reality of a Post Pandemic service industry.

From this advocacy effort—the power of storytelling, by those directly affected, emerged. The personal narratives shared by families proved to be a compelling tool for advocacy. These stories humanized the challenges faced by the intellectual and developmental disabilities community.

The reception from the County Council was not only positive but also indicative of a shared commitment to finding solutions. The increase in the DSP Grant Supplement was approved, signaling not just a victory for the Provider Council but also a step toward building long-lasting partnerships with the County Council. This confirmed the validity of the Provider Council’s approach to collaboration and connection.

Through strategic advocacy and collaboration, the Provider Council successfully represented its members and secured essential funding for the frontline DSP heroes. The increased grant not only acknowledges the invaluable work of these professionals but also ensures that our families and member agencies are able to continue supporting our community.

The Provider Council's advocacy efforts exemplify the impact that a united community can have when voicing its concerns. By sharing stories, fostering collaboration, and engaging with decision-makers, the Council has become a beacon of positive change, ensuring a brighter future for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Prince George's County.

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