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NADSP Code of Ethics for Direct Support Professionals

The Code of Ethics developed through the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) guides DSPs through the ethical dilemmas they face daily and encourages the highest professional ideals. Direct support staff, agency leaders, policymakers, and people receiving services are urged to read the code and to consider ways that these ethical statements can be incorporated into daily practice. This code is not the handbook of the profession, but rather a roadmap to assist in staying the course of securing freedom, justice, and equality for all.

  1. Person-Centered Supports. As a DSP, my first allegiance is to the person I support; all other activities and functions I perform flow from this allegiance.

  2. Promoting Physical and Emotional Well-Being. As a DSP, I am responsible for supporting the emotional, physical, and personal well-being of the individuals receiving support. I will encourage growth and recognize the autonomy of the individuals receiving support while being attentive and energetic in reducing their risk of harm.

  3. Integrity and Responsibility. As a DSP, I will support the mission and vitality of my profession to assist people in leading self-directed lives and to foster a spirit of partnership with the people I support, other professionals, and the community.

  4. Confidentiality. As a DSP, I will safeguard and respect the confidentiality and privacy of the people I support.

  5. Justice, Fairness and Equity. As a DSP, I will promote and practice justice, fairness, and equity for the people I support and the community as a whole. I will affirm the human rights, civil rights and responsibilities of the people I support.

  6. Respect. As a DSP, I will respect the human dignity and uniqueness of the people I support. I will recognize each person I support as valuable and help others understand their value.

  7. Relationships. As a DSP, I will assist the people I support to develop and maintain relationships.

  8. Self-Determination. As a DSP, I will assist the people I support to direct the course of their own lives.

  9. Advocacy. As a DSP, I will advocate with the people I support for justice, inclusion, and full community participation.

Reprinted with permission from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. For information on ordering Code of Ethics brochures, wallet cards, and posters visit or call the Institute on Community Integration at 612/624-4512.



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Retrieved from the Web site of the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota ( Citation: Larson, S.A., Hewitt, A., McCulloh, N., LaLiberte, T. & Gaylord, V. (Eds.). (Fall/Winter 2007/08). Impact: Feature Issue on Direct Support Workforce Development, 20(2). [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration].

The PDF version of this Impact, with photos and graphics, is also online at

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