The state of Rhode Island would raise the pay of caregivers for adults with developmental disabilities to $20 by mid-2023 as part of an “action plan” submitted Tuesday, Oct. 19, to fend off a contempt hearing in federal court over continued violations of a 2014 consent decree mandating the integration of this population in their communities.
The contempt hearing, which had been scheduled to begin Oct. 18 and run through Oct. 22, was canceled last week without explanation by Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., of the U.S. District Court. There previously had been indications the state was working on a settlement proposal.
The action plan also promised that workers would get an interim raise, from $15.75 an hour to $18 an hour, to take effect July 1, 2022, as well as the development of an “intensive” and coordinated statewide initiative involving the Department of Labor and Training, the Community College of Rhode Island, and other organizations to recruit and retain skilled candidates to fill gaps in the workforce necessary to support adults with developmental disabilities who want to be integrated into their communities.
In addition, a total of $12 million would be set aside for a “transformation fund” aimed at supporting private service providers as they go through the first two parts of a three-part transition period from a system originally framed around segregated group care to one that promotes individualized services in the community. Of the $12 million total, $2 million would be reserved to help families who self-direct their own programs, essentially acting as independent employers and program directors for staff serving individual loved ones.