Frontline Initiative Employment Supports

Legislation and policy advocacy update

NADSP continues to advocate for new policies and systems that enhance the status of DSPs and promote high quality direct support. In addition to participation in the Alliance for Full Participation Real Jobs Campaign and State Teams, NADSP members have been working on the following policies and programs:

Recognition and Professionalization 

Direct Support Professional Recognition Week 2010

Across the United States, agencies, people who receive supports, families, and DSPs celebrated the week of September 12 – 19, 2010. The United States Senate’s declaration marked the third year in a row this week has been designated as Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, and each year is marked by increased awareness and activity. More than thirty state governors also issued statements highlighting the contributions of DSPs. 

DSP Department of Labor Apprenticeships

NADSP has worked with ANCOR (American Network on Community Options and Resources) and the U.S. Department of Labor to shape guidelines for the new Registered Apprenticeship Program for DSPs. The training and on the job learning is based on the Code of Ethics and NADSP Competencies. Apprenticeship is one more way to be formally recognized for the quality work you do.

Policy Advocacy

The Direct Care Workers Empowerment Acts

In Summer 2010, Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez from California announced HR 5902, the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act, a bill that which aims to create a more stable, valued direct support/direct care workforce and to improve the quality of care and quality of life for millions of Americans. This bill is intended to assist all workers who provide direct support to people with all types of disabilities, as well as people who are aging and in need of supports. On October 13, 2010, with 35 cosponsors, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania has announced a parallel bill he will introduce in the Senate. Both bills are expected to receive consideration in early 2011. Along with our allies at the Direct Care Alliance, NADSP and its members will need to make our voices heard in support of this act.

The Administration on Developmental Disabilities Envisioning the Future Summits

The newly appointed commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), Sharon Lewis, has held five regional listening sessions this fall that focus on the goals we have set as a nation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These goals are 1) social justice, 2) community inclusion, 3) self-determination, 4) empowerment, 5) family support, 6) employment in real jobs for real wages, and 7) freedom from restraint and seclusion. A large part of the work to meet these goals will be done by DSPs. NADSP has provided testimony in writing and in person in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Visit to see legislation testimony provided.  

DSPs-to-DC 2010

NADSP members played key roles in this every-two-year event hosted by the American Network of Community Options and Resources. The event brought close to 200 DSPs from across the country to the nation’s capitol to learn together and advocate for policies that benefit people receiving supports as well as DSPs. NADSP Board President Lisa Burck; Board Member Regis Obijiski; Policy Committee Chair Joe Macbeth; Education, Training, and Workforce Development member John Raffaele; and founding member Amy Hewitt all spoke to the assembled DSPs on topics such as DSP professionalism, the Code of Ethics, and developing a state chapter. Tina Fagan, DSP-Certified, gave testimony to a large assembly of industry leaders, DSPs, and legislators. Her full testimony is available at