RTC on Community Living Collaborates with NADD on Credentialing Direct Support Professionals

Publication date: 
December 17, 2016

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) contribute significantly to the quality of life of the people they support. But the Direct Support workforce experiences high turnover and uneven training and standards. Part of the solution is credentialing DSPs and that is why ICI's Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL) plays a leading role in creating and offering competency-based training for DSPs through DirectCourse and by collaborating with other organizations dedicated to this effort.

Among those collaborating organizations is NADD, an association for persons with development disabilities and mental health needs. The RTC-CL's Susan O'Nell, Macdonald Metzger, and Merrie Haskins are helping NADD strengthen the Direct Support workforce that supports people with development disabilities and mental health needs by detailing the competencies DSPs need to become certified. As part of that effort, Metzger presented the NADD course on Assessment and Observation in early November at the association's annual conference in Ontario, Canada. He co-authored the course with O'Nell, Haskins, Tony Thomas of Welcome House Inc. in Ohio, and Melissa Cheplic of Rutgers University in New Jersey. This is the first in a series of courses that NADD is developing for certification of DSPs working with individuals who live with both an intellectual disability and a mental health condition. "People with support needs, families, state and provider agencies all want assurances of high-quality direct support," Metzger says. "When DSPs are well equipped with the right training and tools, they are likely to meet the changing needs and high demands that they face in the field. With little or no training or support, we are setting them up for failure. Credentialing of DSPs is very important because it builds and strengthens the Direct Support workforce."