Direct Care Workers Honored in Fairfax County
Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Fairfax Area Agency on Aging
12011 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035-1102
News Release #5/06
June 5, 2007
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will proclaim the day of June 18 as “Direct Care Workers Day,” to recognize the importance of those who provide direct care for our community’s older adults and individuals with disabilities. The proclamation will be considered at the Board’s June 18 meeting.
“Direct care workers have a tremendous influence on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of those in their care,” says Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “We need to be proactive and make sure we do what is necessary to support and train this workforce, which plays such an important role in the quality of life of so many of our county residents.”
The term “direct care worker” refers to a wide range of occupations including nursing assistants, personal care and home health aides, companions, sitters, residential counselors, program assistants. They work in various settings, including nursing homes, home health agencies, group homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and in clients’ homes.
“Direct care workers are the heart of the long-term care system for many of our families,” says Karen Brown, Chair of the Fairfax Long Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC), a group appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to lead the effort to meet the long term care needs of the Fairfax community. The LTCCC promotes local partnerships to increase training and educational opportunities for direct care workers and advocates for wage increases and benefits.
An initiative to recruit and train personal care assistants in the county’s diverse ethnic communities was launched last year with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and the enthusiastic participation of faith and community-based organizations serving local Hispanic, Korean and Muslim communities. The federal grant was awarded to the SkillSource Group, Inc., the nonprofit entity of the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board, and focused on strengthening the collaboration between the Northern Virginia workforce system and local faith and community-based organizations. Through a Fairfax County Incentive Fund, created to expand community services for underserved older adults and individuals with disabilities, the faith and community based organizations will continue to provide personal care assistance training and will also help the aides with obtaining employment.
Fairfax County’s changing demographics indicate a growing need to recruit well trained workers who will be able to help care for a growing population of elderly individuals and those with disabilities. Persons age 65 and older are expected to increase by 80 percent between the years 2000 and 2020 – four times the growth rate projected for those under age 20. The county’s oldest residents, persons age 85 and older, are expected to increase in number by 43 percent between the years 2000 and 2020. Persons with disabilities represent 12% of the Fairfax area population.
[Note to members of the news media: A reception breakfast for direct care workers and others participating in the proclamation presentation will be held June 18 in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, in Fairfax, prior to the Board of Supervisors’ meeting. The breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. Speakers will be available at that time for media interviews.
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination
on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.