Frontline Initiative State Chapter Development

NADSP state chapters:
DSPs promoting their workforce


Jenifer Adams is NADSP Secretary in Hermon, Maine.

Joining or starting a chapter of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) gives Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) the opportunity join with others to effect change for the direct support workforce. Each state chapter is unique and their activities may vary widely. State chapters voice the stories of DSPs, they celebrate successes and share best practices. State chapters participate in training and provide training to improve the quality of supports. They offer opportunities to affect public policy and influence public opinion. By starting a state chapter you can become part of a team that can make a world of difference for individuals with disabilities and the people who support them!  

Why you? As DSP, you experience triumphs and challenges every day as you support people in their communities. You are involved in the lives of people whom society often devalues. You face barriers and overcome obstacles that most people can’t even imagine. You may be isolated and face theses challenges alone. Have you ever wondered about other DSPs? Do they have similar experiences? Are they aware of political movements that could affect DSPs and  the people they support? As a DSP myself, I have asked all these questions. 

I quickly discovered that being a part of a state chapter NADSP offers new and rewarding opportunities. Through local chapters you will find the camaraderie of sharing your experience with other people who provide direct support. Nobody understands the job you do like another DSP. Right now there are many DSPs facing the same challenges that you face. Imagine all the new and interesting ways that people are addressing these and finding success. Whether you are facing budget cuts, having problems with your supervisor, or advocating for the people you support, there is a good chance that another DSP has had a similar experience. Sharing stories, recognizing the value of direct support work and empowering each other, are all reasons to be part of a state chapter.

Another important aspect of being part of a state chapter is becoming involved with public policy. To change public policy, DSPs must form a united front. DSPs from across the country need to step forward and demand to be recognized for their valuable work. Politicians do not want to hear from CEOs that their agencies need more money for direct support workers; DSPs should speak up for themselves. Politicians must see the faces of the people who will be impacted by budget cuts, and those are the faces of DSPs and the people you support. Being part of a DSP organization gives you the opportunity to make a difference on a local, state, and national level. There are many reasons to join a state chapter of NADSP. If there isn’t a chapter in your state, think about starting one!