Senator Spilka Recognized for Leadership on Disability Issues
(Worcester) – Today, during their annual retreat, members of the Department of Developmental Services’ (DDS) Statewide Advisory Council and Citizens Advisory Boards presented awards to Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and Representative David Linsky (D-Natick) for their leadership on the issues and priorities of the disabled community.
Maria Freccero, Vice Chair of the Statewide Advisory Council, presented the awards to Spilka and Linsky, highlighting their work in the legislature to improve the comprehensiveness and quality of services and supports provided to individuals with disabilities, their families, and their caretakers.
Most recently, Spilka and Linsky led the fight to secure a $20 million salary reserve for human services workers in the fiscal year 2013 budget to improve the hourly wage of nearly 31,500 low-paid direct care workers who are currently making less than $40,000 per year. The fund will give these vital and dedicated workers the first annualized salary increase since 2008.
“It is an honor to receive this award from two groups that are doing remarkable work to advance the quality of care for our disabled,” said Spilka. “As a former social worker and as the legal guardian to a sister with Downs Syndrome, I understand the importance of their work and advocacy on a deeply personal level. One of my top priorities as a legislator is supporting and protecting the disabled community and I remain steadfast in my commitment to providing our most vulnerable residents with the tools and services they need to attain the highest possible quality of life.”
“I am honored to be recognized by the DDS Statewide Advisory Council for my legislative advocacy on behalf of those with developmental disabilities, their families, and the human service workers who care for those individuals,” said Representative Linsky. “I am proud to have led the fight in the House to override the funding for the Human Service Salary Reserve. Caring for the elderly, sick, and disabled rank among the most important jobs in our society, and direct care providers are some of the hardest working and lowest paid individuals in the Commonwealth. This modest increase will ensure that we have a strong human services safety net going forward.”
The retreat, which was held this year at the Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester, also celebrated the dedicated work of the advisory boards and included remarks by State Advisory Committee Chair Christine Shane and DDS Commissioner Elin Howe.