Low pay, debt creates crisis in human services workforce

BOSTON – With stagnant wages, frequent turnover and the growing pressure of student loan debt, human services providers face a staffing crunch that leaves them without sufficient resources to meet the needs of the state’s most vulnerable populations, advocates told lawmakers Tuesday.

More than a dozen bills were before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities for a hearing, but a common theme ran through many of them: addressing the plight of service employees who, despite helping those with significant physical and mental needs, cannot make ends meet.

“This is an incredibly important issue,” said state Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “We are facing a very serious workforce crisis.”

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