Frontline Initiative Supporting Families

Alliance Update


Tony Thomas is Secretary/Treasurer for the NADSP.

Hello to all! We are writing today to give you some very good news. The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has been officially incorporated! I know it may not mean too much to the most of you, but this is a major step to fulfilling a dream of many of us. NADSP has operated over the past several years with the strong support of many organizations and individuals; especially Marianne Taylor, formerly of Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Amy Hewitt, from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Across the country many other individuals have supported the goals and mission of NADSP by participating in monthly teleconference calls, supporting positive direct support professional (DSP) legislation in their state, developing credentialing and certification programs for DSPs, and lobbying for DSP wage and salary enhancements.

By incorporating, NADSP can become both a clearinghouse and a facilitator of these efforts and indeed even help to sponsor some of these efforts nationally. Our Board of Trustees will be very small, numbering only seven, but we will actively develop working committees that support the ongoing efforts of this “new” organization. The trustees represent 5 different states (Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Ohio) and have equally diverse backgrounds (advocate, self-advocate, DSPs, insurance representative, agency director). We will meet monthly by phone to develop NADSP as the newest national organization in the disability fi eld. We encourage open dialogue with our key constituents: DSPs and self-advocates. We will also meet quarterly by phone with our larger “steering committee.” This latter group will be comprised of state representatives that have developed statewide chapters of NADSP or incorporated into statewide DSP advocacy.

We strongly urge you to consider not only developing a DSP initiative in your state but becoming affiliated with NADSP and becoming part of a growing trend to improve, recognize, and enhance the work of DSPs across this country. My sincere thanks to the very dedicated new trustees for NADSP: Mark Olson and Cliff Poetz, Minnesota; Regis Obijiski and John Rose, New York; Marianne Taylor, Massachusetts; and Don Carrick, Missouri. My sincere appreciation to these great leaders for their hard work these past several months and the ongoing support of the staff at the Institute on Community Integration, Research and Training Center on Community Living, at the University of Minnesota.