January 2018 Happenings at Bear Creek Services!



At the final Bear Creek Guardian and Parent meeting of 2017, I shared that our greatest challenge going into 2018 is staffing.  It has always been a bit of a challenge to find staff to do this important work. However, we are no longer experiencing a shortage or a crisis, but an epidemic. 

Some facts:

  • There are nearly 9,000 open direct care positions in Minnesota. Currently we are at 11.3% of our positions open.
  • Inflation has outstripped service reimbursement rates by double since 2006, leading to average staff wages of barely $12/hr. According to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the average wage in Olmsted County/Rochester to cover cost of living is $20.30, assuming one person working full-time and one person working part-time with two children.  For a single parent with two children, the average wage goes up to $31.66.  For a single person, no children, is $13.09. 
  • Many, if not most, of our staff work 2 or 3 jobs.
  • We had an overall turnover rate of 45% in 2017, with a turnover rate in our Direct Support Professional (DSP) positions at 58%. If you feel like our staff don’t know your loved ones as well as you would like, this would be why.
  • Our overtime has as much as quadrupled in the last 4 years.

Things we are doing:

  • Despite no increase from our Legislators, we gave a pay increase to our DSP's, beginning January 7th. We look to our Fundraising team to help us make up the gap.  We hope this will help us attract and retain staff.
  • We are constantly improving our staff training process to give our DSP's the skills they need to feel confident in their job.
  • We will be looking at our systems to see where we can improve efficiency, to allow staff more time supporting individuals.
  • We will be looking at the use of technology to help individuals served to be more independent and free staff up from tasks that individuals may be able to do for themselves. We will be looking at the least intrusive and most person centered approach to the use of technology as possible.

What you can do:

  • Stay engaged with us. You might be able to be part of the solution.  Help paint a room; volunteer for a fundraiser; attend a fundraiser; attend BCGAP meetings to get to know other parents/guardians; etc.
  • Contact your legislators and tell them to make this a priority.
  • Join us at the State Capitol and lend your voice to the cause.
  • Contact me at the Bear Creek Services office and ask how you can help. 507-288-7195



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