Frontline Initiative Aging
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is moving forward in its plans to incorporate and become the newest member in the myriad of national disability organizations. Meeting at the ANCOR conference in March of this year, the NADSP has officially decided to incorporate and develop a board of trustees that will guide the organization into the future and help lead this monumental change effort.
This is no small undertaking! Many issues and decisions have to be made, including developing a dues structure that encourages frontline Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to join, working on strengthening and defining our state affiliates and state chapters, and creating and revising a mission, vision, and purpose statement. We have had tremendous support from many organizations, including ANCOR, Human Service Research Institute (HSRI), and the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center at the Institute on Community Integration, just to name a few. I have included below some of the work we conducted at the ANCOR conference.
The initial “Board of Trustees” will include some familiar names: Mark Olson, Cliff Poetz, Regis Obijiski, Marianne Taylor, Don Carrick, and John Rose. In addition to this initial group serving as the first trustees, the NADSP has also established several work groups and action committees that will allow the work of the NADSP and Board to move forward. We will eagerly work to incorporate DSPs into these committees and the Board once we are incorporated and established. Again, the goal here is quite simple — to help NADSP develop as the leading non-profit organization that enhances the work and professional image of DSPs across the country.
A Vision for the Present and the Future
The members present at the NADSP national meeting discussed the following vision and goal statements to help NADSP become the leading national organization supporting DSP work and professional image. NADSP met to discuss an initial vision statement and develop an initial board structure that will serve the NADSP as it moves forward with its incorporation strategy. Members of NADSP present at the meeting expressed the following statements as the vision they would like to see for NADSP in the next 10 years.
- NADSP shall be a national entity operated by DSPs.
- NADSP shall be a true trade organization.
- DSPs shall do the work of the organization.
- Every state shall have a DSP chapter that links with NADSP.
- Leaders of these state entities should be DSPs.
- NADSP shall be a dues paying organization.
- NADSP shall have its own administrative support and national address.
- The membership benefits for DSPs shall be clear.
- DSP members shall be in every state.
- Self-advocates and families shall be a part of NADSP.
- NADSP shall become a clearinghouse so that states’ accomplishments with the development of DSPs shall be shared widely.
- NADSP’s size shall be significant enough to influence public policy and enhance DSP practice. • NADSP shall lend credibility to creating a profession via credentialing.
- NADSP shall create a body of knowledge for DSP work.
- NADSP shall expand and encourage product development and partnerships to improve DSP knowledge.
- NADSP shall have a solid marketing plan focused on enhancing the image of DSPs and advancing the NADSP mission.
- NADSP shall have national and international collaboration with other organizations, higher education institutions, and other countries involved in the development of DSPs.
- NADSP shall develop an international conference on Direct Support.
- NADSP shall exercise a collective voice, advocating effectively for a “living wage” and shrinking the gap between public and privately financed community services.