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The Economic Case for Increased State Investment in Health and Social Services in Delaware

The Ability Network of Delaware (A.N.D.) and its 39 member organizations provide vital services to members of the disability community, including those with mental health issues, physical disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. ESI was retained by A.N.D. to demonstrate the economic, community, and social return generated by State investment in the services provided by A.N.D. and its member organizations. This return derives from the multiplier effect of State dollars invested in such services, from cost savings and quality enhancements via reducing employee turnover, and from the larger financial and reputational costs avoided by adequate funding of those services, as well as from the economic contribution to the state that is made by participants of members’ workforce programs.

Due to the fact that the social and financial challenges facing the disabled community in Delaware are great, adequate funding of services provides a direct benefit to those served by A.N.D. members. These interventions also have larger impacts that benefit the state economy as a whole, and these additional benefits warrant further articulation. This report looks at four different aspects of economic impact:

  • Estimating the overall economic impact of the annual operations of A.N.D.’s member organizations, exploring both how State investments leverage other dollars and how operating dollars spent support a wide range of economic activity throughout the state.
  • Showing how uncompetitive wages in this field are relative to other job opportunities, and how costly the resulting employee turnover is to operating budgets and service quality.
  • Demonstrating that the cost of proactive social service provision is dwarfed by the financial and reputational cost borne within the state when services are underfunded.
  • Providing an illustrative example of the economic impact of job training and placement for the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

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