Archive for ‘Personal Care and Support Credential’

Farewell and Thank You

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 at 10:09 am | 21 Comments »

Dear Friend of DCA,

group shot panoramic for web

With your support, Direct Care Alliance has been the national advocacy voice of direct care workers for almost ten years.  We can all be proud of what we have accomplished together.

Inspired by the vision of former Executive Director Leonila Vega, we built a nationwide advocacy network of direct care workers through the Voices Institute and other means. These worker leaders are eloquent about the value of their work and have a passion for improving our system of long-term services and supports.

We influenced legislation and regulation, taking important steps at the state and federal level to improve the health and economic security of direct care workers, invest in the workforce and enhance training and advancement opportunities. A key recent victory was the final home care rule extending basic labor protections–including federal minimum wage and overtime pay–to home care workers nationwide.

We developed a national credentialing program that is an important step toward building recognition of personal care work. We assisted many direct care workers in finding health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We also provided technical and financial assistance to direct care worker state associations.

Unfortunately, the world has changed, and our income has decreased every year. The board has grappled with this over the years, trying to trim costs while maintaining services and supports for workers, but we don’t have enough funding to continue operating. We regretfully inform you that DCA staff operations will cease and our offices in Washington, DC and New York will close by June 30.  Continue reading »

New Mexico Uses DCA Credential to Help Caregivers Prove Skills, Knowledge

Posted by on April 6th, 2014 at 11:03 pm | 1 Comment »

Adrienne Smith

While certified nursing assistants and home health aides have to take at least 75 hours of training and pass a certification exam to prove their fitness for the job, there is no federally mandated educational program or credential exam for personal or home care workers. To help fill that gap, Direct Care Alliance (DCA) developed the Personal Care and Support Credential in 2011. The credential measures the eight core areas every caregiver should know in order to perform his/her job at the highest levels, giving workers a way to prove their skills and knowledge and employers a way to evaluate potential caregivers.

In 2012, the New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition (NMDCC), a statewide organization that advocates for caregivers, negotiated a partnership with DCA to administer the credential. Continue reading »

Standing up for Myself and My Fellow Workers by Joining DCA

Posted by on October 18th, 2013 at 4:43 pm | 2 Comments »
Mohan Varghese

Mohan Varghese

The first time I contacted Direct Care Alliance was after I was told by my employer that I would be accompanying him on the road for trips that lasted several days and would be paid for only 12 hours a day of my time. My immediate thought was: I will contact the Department of Labor (DOL) and they will take care of it.

But when I contacted DOL, I learned that they could not help because we home care workers were shut out of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) under the companionship exemption. I searched online to find a way to stand up for myself and my fellow workers, who put in long hard hours doing skilled tasks only to be mischaracterized as companions or elder sitters.

I found DCA during my search. Continue reading »

Honoring Leonila

Posted by on November 29th, 2012 at 12:12 pm | 2 Comments »

Leonila and Solín in June, 2012

On November 19, 2012, DCA lost a visionary leader and undying source of inspiration with the passing of Leonila Vega. This is a very sad time for all of us, but she also leaves us with much to celebrate, including the legacy of worker leadership and empowerment that became DCA’s identity under her direction.

Fourteen months ago, Leonila took a medical leave from DCA. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and she decided to receive care in Milwaukee so that she could be with Brad Nelson, her partner and caregiver, while she fought the disease she called “the Monster.” Though she intended to return to DCA, we felt her absence immediately.  Continue reading »

DCA Announces Credential Scholarships for Home Care Workers

Posted by on July 30th, 2012 at 1:17 pm | 4 Comments »

Download this release as a pdf

The Direct Care Alliance’s (DCA) Personal Care and Support Credential will be offered free of charge to 400 home care workers nationwide. This innovative program helps consumers, family caregivers, and home care agencies identify skilled home care workers. DCA will award scholarships through participating organizations throughout the country to home care workers who meet employment, training and other eligibility requirements.

As the fastest growing workforce in the United States, home care has emerged as a key sector of our economy. Recruiting and retaining qualified home care workers has proven to be very challenging for the industry, a problem that is exacerbated by the growing demand for home care. “The rapidly increasing demand for in-home services makes it that much more urgent that we institute a national standard to measure the knowledge and skills required to provide quality home care,” says DCA Director of Policy and Planning David Ward. “We are thrilled to be able to respond to this need by enabling hundreds of home care workers to take the Personal Care and Support Credential exam free of charge.”

Continue reading »

High School Students Earn DCA Personal Care and Support Credential

Posted by on July 18th, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Comments Off on High School Students Earn DCA Personal Care and Support Credential

Download this release as a pdf

Fourteen students at a vocational technical high school in Fall River, Massachusetts, became the first high school students in the nation to earn the Direct Care Alliance’s Personal Care and Support Credential.

The DCA created the credentialing program to establish a national standard for the knowledge and skills required to provide high-quality in-home care. Before it was launched, there was no recognized credential that allowed employers and consumers to assess the knowledge of the home care workers that they hire.

The Personal Care and Support Credential is a competency-based test for direct care workers who provide care and support services in home and community-based settings. Continue reading »

Direct Care Workforce Issues Highlighted at 2011 Aging in America Conference

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workforce Issues Highlighted at 2011 Aging in America Conference

Last week, the Direct Care Alliance led two workshops at the 2011 Aging in America Conference in San Francisco.  David Ward and Helen Hanson – DCA’s Director of Policy and Planning and DCA’s Professional Development Manager –  were joined by Steve Edelstein of PHI and Howard Bedlin of the National Council on Aging to discuss opportunities to stabilize the direct care workforce.

At the workshop, the panelists discussed a variety of policy issues, campaigns and initiatives that are underway to improve direct care jobs.  DCA staff discussed its two-pronged strategy to end the exemption of home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections: the federal legislation sponsored by Representative Linda Sanchez from California and Senator Robert Casey from Pennsylvania as well as the opportunity to change the companion exemption regulations through the U.S. Department of Labor.

The federal legislation is likely to be re-introduced in Congress sometime in May or early June and the Department of Labor plans to issue a proposed rule for the companionship exemption by October.

Continue reading »

DCA Credentialing Program Underway in Florida

Posted by on April 18th, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Comments Off on DCA Credentialing Program Underway in Florida

The following story was contributed by Terry Bucher

Terry Bucher (right)

The Florida Professional Association of Care Givers is delighted to be the avenue through which DCA will be offering the new Personal Care and Support Credential in the State of Florida. As the Founder and President Emeritus of FPACG, I see our new partnership with DCA as an extension of our efforts to recognize the importance of on-going education for the direct care workforce.  Through this partnership, we are raising the level of professionalism for personal care givers, assuring that they are well trained and committed to providing quality care for all the lives we touch, providing assistance with love, compassion and dignity.

Continue reading »

DCA Credential Professionalizing New Mexico Workforce

Posted by on April 4th, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Comments Off on DCA Credential Professionalizing New Mexico Workforce

I serve as the New Mexico Direct Care Association Chairman and as Co-Chair of the National Credential Commission for Professional Home and Community Services, and I believe DCA is helping us all do better work as caregivers.  The credential recognizes our professionalism and the quality care that we provide.

Mark Cerna

I began my career as a direct care worker when my father became ill and was his primary caregiver until he passed away.  In that role I gained invaluable experience as a caregiver, and the DCA Personal Care and Support Credential would recognize that kind of commitment and encourage more direct care workers to join the professional workforce.

Alecia Springer, a family provider from Los Alamos and Alex Brandt, a Psychology Technician from Los Lunas are two others who serve as leaders working along with me in New Mexico and nationally. Both are graduates of the 2009 Voices Institute National Leadership Program of DCA. They were among only 30 individuals selected annually from a national group of applicants.

“Alex, Alecia and Mark were nominated to the Voices Institute to better prepare ourselves as future leaders in the field of direct care, and in order that they might advocate even beyond New Mexico for others working in the field of direct care,” says Barbara LeMaire, former executive director of the New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition.

Continue reading »

Personal Care Credential to Boost Industry Professionalism

Posted by on March 18th, 2010 at 1:30 pm | 4 Comments »

Vera Salter

I’m thrilled to announce the Direct Care Alliance’s new national credentialing program.  Thanks to a generous grant from the Ford Foundation and the support of employers, direct care workers and consumers across the country, this credential is expected to become the gold standard credential for personal care workers.

The  Direct Care Alliance launched the pilot phase of the credentialing program on March 5, in Portland, Maine.  Additional pilot tests have been administered in Tucson, Arizona, and by the Pennsylvania Direct Care Workers Association.  Workers who complete the pilot test will be among the first to receive the credential, which meets criteria outlined by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence and will be rolled out nationwide later this year. Read the complete announcement and the fact sheet.