Department of Developmental Services under state committee review

DDS cares for approximately 38,000 people with developmental disabilities

Massachusetts State House Photo: Thinkstock

BOSTON (WWLP) – Salaries of Department of Developmental Disabilities staff and possible abuse of people under DDS care are two concerns lawmakers mentioned at an oversight hearing of the agency Wednesday.

The agency cares for approximately 38,000 people with developmental disabilities. This includes people living with family members, on their own, or in group homes.

One concern of the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities: people under DDS care possibly being sexually assaulted. According to DDS Deputy Commissioner Jane Ryder, staff are mandated reporters of abuse and are trained to notice signs. They’re also working with persons with disabilities on the issue.

“Training to educate persons with a disability-the potential victims themselves-train them on recognizing, reporting and responding to abuse” Ryder said.

The Committee also expressed concerns about caseloads and salaries for DDS staff members.

“I think providers realize it’s not to their benefit not to pay direct care staff a decent wage and provide them with benefits, because their not going to succeed in their business,” Ryder said.

She also said the agency is having difficulties finding staff in certain pockets of the state.

The public can submit comments on DDS to Committee’s chair, Representative Kay Khan, for consideration.