Frontline Initiative Stress and Burnout
The National Alliance Needs You!
Members of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals met in March 1998 in conjunction with the ANCOR conference in Orlando, Florida. This was an exciting meeting with many new people in attendance. Important decisions were made at this meeting regarding Alliance affiliation and membership. When the Alliance was first developed in October 1997, it was established as an affiliation of national organizations that were brought together to address issues of workforce development for human service direct support staff. Since its origination, the Alliance has grown in membership to include 25 national organizations, 18 states or state organizations, and several interested individuals.
Although not intended to be a professional member organization for DSPs, it is clear that there is interest in developing such an organization. Of course, developing a new professional organization brings with it many challenges and related expenses including but not limited to: 1) becoming a non-profit entity, 2) developing a dues structure, 3) having a formal leadership structure made up of DSPs, 4) promoting and holding members accountable to a code of ethical practice. The Alliance members in attendance at the meeting in Orlando discussed this issue at length. They came up with the following strategies designed to honor the original intent of the Alliance while simultaneously capturing the energy and enthusiasm of DSPs throughout the country who are interested in developing a professional association—
- Seek Direct Support Professionals as affiliates of the National Alliance. An affiliate would be an individual who subscribes to the Frontline Initiative and is active on a National Alliance work group, attends Alliance meetings and/or is active at the state or local level in carrying forth the Alliance goals and objectives.
- Continue to encourage national and state organizations to become members of the National Alliance.
- Identify key contact people within all states to serve as a local coordinators in carrying out activities at the state or local level designed to achieve the National Alliance mission and goals. These individuals would actively seek Direct Support Professionals to serve in leadership capacities and would join together at National Alliance meetings or via teleconferences at least twice a year to network and share what is happening in their local area.