Florida is in the midst of making yet another round of major cuts in services for individuals with disabilities. These cuts have been a downhill battle since 2008.
As a support coordinator (case manager), and a supervisor of my office, it is my job to ensure that these individuals are as independent as possible by linking them with the services to help them do so. The job has never been about the money. This field has historically paid low. The support coordinators in my office have to love what they do, or it is clearly not worth it. If the individuals that we work with are successful, we are successful.
We are now in the midst of budgeting the money we have been given for the upcoming fiscal year with more cuts and a new system on top of it. I found myself saying the other day, "I used to be a support coordinator. Now I walk around with a calculator." Sadly, that is the way things are going lately.
I work with a great group of people but it is very difficult to inspire them to do the projects when there is no incentive. We are constantly taking away all of the things that help the people that we serve be successful, the entire reason we are all working in this field. Instead we are constantly being faced with parents and service providers yelling at us in frustration, completing endless spreadsheets and truly walking around with a calculator. We started out as advocates and now we are paper pushers. This is not what we signed up for!
It has been difficult for all of us in our office to not have a raise in the past 4 years, but on top of that there is little inspiration from the job as well. The individuals that we serve are suffering. The state has cut so much money that it seems as though in July, everyone will be sitting at home for the majority of the week. We have been told they are now only required to provide Health and Safety. That means mental health is out the window!
You and I have choices every day that we take for granted. If we decide we want to go to the store or go visit a friend, we have the ability to get in the car and go. If we need to "get away from it all", we can simply walk or drive away. We chose who we live with and we choose our meals and our routine. Many of these individuals do not have any of that.
How would that make you feel? How would you inspire someone in that situation?