Congressional Budget Puts Human Services at Risk, Frontline Workers Speak Out

Instead of making the 1% – the rich and big corporations – pay their fair share, House Republicans voted to make unprecedented and devastating cuts to essential services at a time when 99% of families can least afford it.

These service cuts would hurt millions of people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. At the same time, some in Congress want to give the richest 1% and big corporations more than $4 trillion in tax cuts.

Money from the federal government is by far the single largest source of revenue for state and local governments. So what Congress does matters a lot.

Direct support professional, Cantave Pamphile, tells Congress to get its priorities straight

Cantave Pamphile, Direct Support Professional, Massachusetts

My name is Cantave Pamphile. I started this work because of the experience I had with my nephew. He has Down Syndrome and I saw what my sister was doing to take care of him. I wanted to be able to provide that assistance to others who need it. I see that if these individuals are given a hand, they can really be able to live the independent lives that they want to.

The best part of the job for me is just working with the individuals and spending time with them. We can see how much our work means to them and contributes to their well-being.

We’re often staffed just enough to maintain the proper level of care for our individuals, and there are so many more things that we could do with the individuals if we had the resources.

If funding for the individuals that we serve were cut, it would affect them a lot. There are eight individuals in the house that I work in, but we only have three staff at a time. The people that I work with need a lot of assistance, so if we were to lose just one staff person, the result would be dramatic. The whole system could fall apart.

Every one of the individuals that I work with has become a part of my family, and I feel like I’ve become a part of theirs. We spend so much time with them, making sure that they have the support they need, that it’s just natural to be close with them and their families. I can’t imagine not being a part of their lives.

Members of Congress need to hear about the individuals that I work with and how much they depend on the services that we deliver. They need to know how the work we do allows individuals to live as independently as possible, and without our work they would be left hanging.

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