Children’s Service Providers Get Crucial Pay Bump

On April 16, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and members of the Legislature announced the first increase in pay for early childhood intervention service providers in over 25 years. At a press conference, officials discussed the tangible impact this increase will have on children, therapists, and families throughout Nassau County. The rate of pay for these early intervention specialists is going from $40 an hour to $50. There has not been a pay increase for providers in this category since 1999.
“In an attempt to be competitive, we realized that our compensation was below the average. So today, we’re here to correct something and to make sure that we have a sufficient number of therapists for our children… New York State reimburses, I believe, around 59 percent of the cost, the rest of the county has to pick up. But since we have that obligation, we’re going to fulfill that obligation.” Blakeman said in a press conference.
Legislator Michael Giangregorio commented, “As a father of an individual with autism, we’ve been through this system. My son is 23 now, so the last time he received CPSC services was quite a while ago, and there has not been a raise since he’s been in the system… For far too long, the wages of these early intervention educators and therapists have not reflected the true value of that work. This decision is in recognition of the accepted essential contributions these providers make in nurturing the cognitive, emotional, social and physical development of these children. To other therapists, we understand the challenges you face, the passion you bring up to your profession, and the critical role you play in the foundation of lifelong learning and success. Together, we will build a brighter future for all of our children and the Nassau Community.”
Irina Gelman, commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Health, commented “We are very grateful for this opportunity to bring this forward in front of our Board of Health. We’re very hopeful that they will adopt this new rate, which will be instrumental in providing crucial services to our children, our families and adequately reimbursing our providers.”
Legislator Siela Bynoe, who has long advocated for these changes but was not present at the podium on April 16, commented to Anton Media Group by email, “While I am glad that the County Executive has heeded the advocacy of practitioners and the Democratic Minority by taking this first step, much more must still be done to repair the damage caused by three decades of stagnation.”
“Moving forward, the County should implement robust safeguards to ensure that early childhood intervention providers receive regularly scheduled raises indexed to inflation or another appropriate benchmark. Nassau County must never again be in the unacceptable position of paying the lowest rates in the state, and a proactive approach is necessary to uphold our commitment to the well-being of our most vulnerable young residents and the professionals who serve them.”

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