“Be Fair 2 Direct Care” is the battle cry of advocates for people with developmental disabilities.

They are often families who are trying to raise the pay of their loved ones’ caregivers.

One of the groups took their case directly to state lawmakers on Tuesday, providing dramatic evidence that those caregivers are grossly underpaid. 

The Developmental Disability Alliance of Western New York, known as DDAWNY, held their annual legislative breakfast. Al Vaughters was the emcee.

DDAWANY laid out a strong case for raising the pay of workers known as direct support professionals, whose pay is set by state passthroughs to their employers. 

With a growing labor shortage and wages growing in other careers, many caregivers say they just can’t afford the jobs anymore.

Jillian and James Patterson shared their story with lawmakers.

Their pay as caregivers is so low they have both worked second jobs to care for their two young children.

As many of these advocates know, they could make more money- sometimes even working in fast food.

But the Pattersons have chosen to stick it out.

The DDAWNY families do give the Western New York delegation credit for being responsive to their needs, saying ‘they get it’.