Community Supports in Crisis: No Staff, No Services


The system of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) has come a long way in the last 30 years — from segregated care in remote institutions to a robust and varied network of community supports. This progress took decades and was not inevitable. It was achieved through persistent advocacy on multiple levels. It took lifting the voices of people with disabilities and family members, litigation and legal action to secure rights, federal legislation that codified the values of inclusion and access, and building a body of research and evidence-based best practices.  All the progress toward community living that has been made in services for people with IDD over decades is now in jeopardy — because of catastrophic labor shortages and pervasive high turnover rates in the workforce that supports them, direct support professionals (DSPs).  This white paper from ICI and its partners at HSRI and NASDDDS provides an overview of the depth of the crisis in the workforce and the impact on people with IDD and sounds the alarm about the nature and scope of the workforce crisis in the IDD service system.

Suggested Citation

Institute of Community Integration, Human Services Research Institute, & National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services. (2022). Community supports in crisis: No staff, no services. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.


Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
Human Services Research Institute
National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


  • Direct support workforce
    • Retention and recruitment
    • Workforce development strategies