The Human Cost of Help Wanted

September 14, 2021 by Cameron Baker, The Hingham 'Cast
Photos courtesy of Beth McDaid 

Beth McDaid and Kim Cross are no strangers to obstacles. Mothers to Cormac and Jenna, respectively, they know the strain on facilities that serve people with disabilities. But the pandemic has brought painful and complicated new hurdles.

Children with disabilities progress into adulthood at the age of 22. Day programs are typically the next step in their journey. But the pandemic has worsened an already tense staffing crisis, delivering more cutbacks to non-profit programs and leaving vulnerable people like 22-year-old Cormac, Jenna, a Hingham High senior, and their families with fewer options. “It’s a slap in the face,” says Cormac’s mom Beth McDaid.

While the national labor conversation has focused on restaurants, retail, and construction, the human services industry has felt a similar, and deeply personal, burden. Low supply and high demand for employees coupled with budget-strained departments further strains desperately needed programs and has left families scrambling.

“It’s grueling. It’s really grueling” says McDaid.

In today’s episode of The Hingham ‘Cast, we also sit down with Michael Weekes, head of the Providers' Council, and Chris White, head of the Marshfield nonprofit, Road to Responsibility. Both detail provider vacancies between 25-30% as human services organizations struggle to find much-needed help. “Right now, we’re only serving about half the people that we had been serving in our day services prior to COVID” says White.

Listen in as we dig into the issues and learn how we can help families struggling in our community.

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