Self-Advocacy Online Blog

Staff Matching


Cliff Poetz was a founding member of People First Minnesota and a Community Liaison with the Institute on Community Integration.

[Cliff Poetz passed away on March 25, 2021. He prepared a series of posts to run through the year on Self-Advocacy Online, a website he co-founded.]


One very important relationship in the lives of self-advocates is between them and their staff.  Staff and self-advocates should not only get along with one another, but also work together to accomplish mutual goals. Great staff need to be kind, respectful, aware, and willing to go the extra mile for their self-advocates. DSPs should also be paid better than they are now. If they didn’t have to work multiple jobs, they could focus more on the relationship with their self-advocates and improving their overall care.

It can be difficult to find staff that can work with multiple self-advocates since every individual is different and they may have different preferences. This is where staff matching becomes so important.  Both self-advocates and staff need to have patience and be willing to get to know each other. In addition to knowing preferences for routine and personal care, shared interests can also be a good quality in staff, such as being a fan of the same sports team or TV show. If the right staff and self-advocate get matched and work well together, good outcomes will follow.