we are excited to publish the Family and Social Services Administration’s Direct Service Workforce Plan, detailing an actionable path forward to support and build Indiana’s Direct Service Workforce. Rooted in FSSA’s Home- and Community-Based Services Spend Plan, the Direct Service Workforce Plan reflects our commitment to investing critical resources to create — and now to begin implementing — a person-centered, statewide plan to improve the recruitment, training, support and retention of direct service workers in home- and community-based settings.
The Direct Service Workforce Plan is the culmination of nine months of intensive and intentional work to bring together a broad and diverse group of stakeholders to help us to develop a holistic understanding of Indiana’s Direct Service Workforce, regardless of program, population served or funding source. This work started with hearing from individuals using home- and community-based services and understanding what they need from those providing direct service and support. Next, we created a first of its kind statewide Direct Service Workforce Advisory Board to serve as an essential partner in the plan development process. We also enlisted the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at the Indiana University School for Medicine – nationally recognized in health workforce policy – to develop and execute a robust research and stakeholder engagement strategy to serve as the plan’s foundation. Lastly, but importantly, we sought out feedback from stakeholders across the state, as well as from our colleagues in state government.
Using the research, feedback and perspectives gathered over the past year, the Direct Service Workforce Plan includes short-, mid-, and long-term strategies in three key areas – wages and benefits; training and pathways; and promotion and planning. The value of the plan is not necessarily in the specifics – many of which are not surprising – but rather in the power of having these strategies consolidated in a single plan that provides clarity on a path toward incremental improvements that are essential to effectively building and maintaining a robust, quality workforce.
We are particularly excited to include strategies such as our on-going HCBS waiver rate review to align rates with the value of providing these essential services and supports and our recently announced Direct Service Workforce Investment grants to provide immediate support and resources to help retain and maintain a quality Direct Service Workforce. More information about these grants, due Dec. 22, can be found on our HCBS Spend Plan webpage. Over the next few months, we look forward to building on these activities, along with other strategies detailed in the plan, in collaboration with individuals who utilize HCBS, our DSW Advisory Board, the Bowen Center, and many other partners and stakeholders.