February 26, 2021
Mikayla Buterbaugh, of Newark (formerly of Middletown), recently testified at Delaware’s Joint Finance Budget Hearing sharing her experience with Easterseals and pleading with the committee to ensure fair pay for Direct Support Professionals, who support adults with disabilities like Mikayla.
At the hearing, Buterbaugh shared, “I am 23 years old and have Down syndrome. I may need help doing things but I am not defined by my disability. I am thankful for Easterseals and everyone who loves and advocates for me. I have been a member of Easterseals since I was young and had therapies and when I graduated from high school Easterseals helped me find the right job. That’s when I met Camille Pringle, and she has been my job coach from Easterseals ever since.”
Buterbaugh has been employed at Grotto Pizza on Concord Pike for the past three years. During her testimony she shared that her coworkers are thankful for and respect her and the job she does.
“I am asking you to please make sure Direct Support Professionals like Miss Camille are paid fairly for their very important job,” Buterbaugh shared. “I don’t ever want people like Miss Camille to have to go look for another job because they don’t earn enough money supporting people with disabilities. Please vote more funding for DSPs. For people like me … our lives depend on it.”
The State sets the reimbursement rates for community service providers like Easterseals who deliver services to adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The wages for Direct Support Professionals are a part of the reimbursement rates for the services, which are underfunded by approximately 30 percent.