On May 16, a contingent of CHD employees attended a rally at the State House in Boston to urge the passage of two bills that would ensure a livable wage for the human services sector and ease the burden of student loans.
They joined hundreds from The Caring Force, the advocacy arm of the Provider’s Council, which represents organizations in the human services sector. Clad in yellow The Caring Force t-shirts, they also visited the offices of several legislators to tout the proposals. The bills, which aim to boost wages and create a loan repayment program, are awaiting a hearing in the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.
“It’s so important for those who represent us on Beacon Hill to be able to hear the experiences and insight directly from those who are providing care and services,” said CHD Vice President of Community Engagement Ben Craft. “Our CHD team did a great job bringing the realities of their day-to-day positive impact and challenges to the State House, and we appreciate all the elected officials and staff who gave us their time and attention.”
If passed, the bills, H191/S84 and H214/S77, would gradually eliminate pay disparities between state workers and community-based caregivers delivering similar services—and help eligible human services workers be repaid up to $6,000 in loans from their associate degrees, up to $20,000 from bachelor’s degrees, and up to $30,000 from master’s degrees.
Caitlin Mogilka, a children’s services assistant at CHD’s Grace House, a residential treatment program for mothers, said he attended the rally because she feels it’s important to show how many people care about these issues. “There’s power in numbers, so the more of us that show support, the more of a change we can make,” she said.
Rally participant Candace LaFever, a crisis counselor at CHD’s Community Behavioral Health Center, is in the process of earning her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at UMass Boston. “I had put this off for three years because I didn’t want to take on any more debt,” she said. “Tuition is expensive, and any kind of help with that would be great.”