The Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) is a non-profit trade association of private providers of services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). CPNRI’s mission is to ensure that private Developmental Disability Organizations (DDO) are providing high quality services to the individuals they support and to advance disability policies that promote the independence and inclusion of persons with I/DD.
Direct Service Providers (DSP) are the foundation of the I/DD service delivery support system, yet DSPs employed by Rhode Island’s private DDOs on average earn $13.18 per hour, which is only $1.68 above the state’s minimum wage of $11.50 per hour. The low average wage creates challenges for providers to recruit, train, and retain DSPs, particularly in the current COVID-19 pandemic environment. To address workforce retention and vacancy issues, CPNRI is recommending raising wages for DSPs who work for its member organizations to $17.50 per hour in 2021, which is “consistent with the public Medicaid delivery system compensation for direct care workers who are offered approximately $18.00 per hour as a starting wage as well as a robust benefit package, for the same work.” CPNRI is also recommending a second wage increase to $20.00 per hour in 2022.
 A System in Crisis. Community Provider Network of Rhode Island. Cranston, RI.