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More than 80 percent of Direct Care Specialists working in most group homes in Southern Maine are of African descent. Similar to the residents they serve, their ages range from 18 to 65. The Maine African immigrant community has played a significant role in increasing care availability to the many people on waiting lists in need of care in Maine.

A Stepping Stone

A career as a DSP can be a stepping stone to gainful employment for new immigrants to Maine. Many immigrants who have been working as DSPs are now opening their DSP agencies because of the high demand for DSP services in Maine and New Hampshire.  The process to do this can be complex and requires knowledge of state government regulations. 

To be successful, an agency must have a thorough knowledge of the licensing requirements, write a business plan, understand labor laws and requirements, keep track of financial and tax records, and be excellent communicators and managers.

Mfuranzima Direct Support Education can assist you in navigating the licensing process. Maine has many free resources to assist you with business set up and planning, including the SBDC, SCORE, the Women’s Business Center, the City of Portland Office of Economic Opportunity, the State of Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the Immigrant Welcome Center, and other agencies. Please get in touch with us to learn more.

An Opportunity for Adding Value

The most successful Direct Care agencies will be those who can offer a competitive wage and promote a positive work environment and team structure. An agency that believes in improving staff quality of life will most definitely improve a clients' quality of life and, consequently, succeed as an organization or business. Before establishing your business, we urge you to learn more about the industry, business planning, and other topics. Hence, you have a thorough knowledge of all required while working in this critical but complex industry.

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