Policy Initiatives

Collaboration Initiative

The NADSP joined several other organizations in a letter to the Honorable Tim Walberg, Chairman, Workforce Protections Subcommittee and the Honorable Lynn Woolsey, Ranking Member, Workforce Protections Subcommittee in support of the Department of Labor (DOL) for revising the rules (RIN 1235-AA05) on the “companionship exemption” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which currently denies the direct care workforce basic federal wage-and-hour protections. Read the letter here.

Collaboration Initiative

AFP State Teams Need You!

The Alliance for Full Participation, or AFP, is a group of fourteen organizations committed to improving the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The NADSP is a founding member of the Alliance. In 2005, AFP hosted a summit that looked at how to increase participation in community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2009, AFP announced a major campaign, Real Jobs-It’s Everyone’s Business, and a goal of doubling employment for people with IDD by the year 2015. At the heart of AFP is a national network of state teams-state level groups who are working to increase employment opportunities at the local level. State teams work within their state and across the country to look at current policies and practices, establish goals and create plans for doubling employment in their state. AFP is providing its state teams with tools and technical assistance to help teams identify current challenges and opportunities in the stat. Most states are now growing state teams. Please consider getting involved with your state team.

Read more here (PDF)

Legislative Advocacy Initiative

DSP Testimony in New York

Tina Fagan, DSP-Certified from New York, gave this testimony before a group of human service industry leaders, DSPs, and legislators at the Fall 2010 DSPs-to-DC conference. Tina lays out the many responsibilities and skills she calls upon in order to provide direct supports on a daily basis.

Read Tina’s Testimony (PDF)

NADSP Initiative

NADSP Encourages Testimony to ADD Envisioning the Future Summits 2010

The Administration on Developmental Disabilities is hosting Envisioning the Future Summits during October, November, and December 2010. These Listening Sessions will be held in: Philadelphia, PA on October 18; Orlando, FL on November 8; in Dallas, TX on November 15; in Detroit, MI on December 2; and in Denver, CO on December 6. Because the Administration on Developmental Disabilities guides important decisions about funding and policy, this is an essential opportunity to speak up on behalf of the direct support workforce. Committed, knowledgeable, skilled DSPs are essential to quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

Please consider writing your own testimony to send in, and/or attending an Envisioning the Future Summit in your area. You can learn more, share your testimony, and register at http://www.envision2010.net/. However you decide to participate, please let NADSP know by emailing rsarto@nadsp.org. Below are Tips on Testimony and some examples from leaders at NADSP. We’d like to add yours here!

Read NADSP Tips for Testimony (PDF)

Read the Written Testimony from Joe Macbeth, NADSP Policy Committee Chair (PDF)

View a Flyer for the Envisioning the Future Summit Series (PDF)

Collaboration Initiative

NADSP Endorses The Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act of 2010

On July 28, Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez from California announced the introduction of the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act, a bill that will help create a more stable, valued direct care workforce and 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.

NADSP applauds Congresswoman Sanchez for proposing a legislative solution to some of the most pressing issues facing the direct support workforce. NADSP joins the Direct Care Alliance in supporting this important bill. The Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act extends wage and overtime protections to home care workers; improves data collection and workforce monitoring; and provides grants to states to improve direct care workforce recruitment and retention practices.

Our voices and those of our colleagues who work in other service systems have been heard! Congresswoman Sanchez has listened, learned from our stories, and was inspired to take action. Shouldn’t your Representative do the same? Please contact your Representative and ask that they become original co-sponsors of this exciting new bill today! To find out how to contact your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor this new bill, you can go to www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml. We will keep you informed on the progress of this bill in the NADSP eFlash email newsletters, and here on the NADSP website.

Read NADSP’s summary of this important legislation (PDF)

Read the current draft of the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act of 2010 (PDF)

View a video of Congresswoman Sanchez announcing the bill

Legislative Advocacy Initiative

Direct Support Professionals to DC: September 13 and 14, 2010

All Direct Support Professionals are invited to a conference hosted by the National Advocacy Campaign on September 13 and 14, 2010. Meet other DSPs and learn together about leadership, new developments in the professionalization of the direct support field, and how we can move the field and all DSPs forward in the years ahead.

Presentations will include Joe Macbeth, NADSP Board member, speaking about “What Makes a Professional,” and John Raffaele of the NADSP Education Committee presenting on the NADSP Code of Ethics and the Community Support Skill Standards. Another longtime leader in NADSP, Regis Obijiski, will be presenting information on the National Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program, which will soon offer Direct Support Professional Apprenticeships that parallel the NADSP Credentialing Program.

NADSP Board President Lisa Burck will offer her thoughts on the current state of the movement to enhance the status of direct support professionals and attract more people to this essential and rewarding work. Other presentations include an update on the National Advocacy Campaign, given my Jeff Britt, tips on communicating with lawmakers by Daryn Demeritt, and a joint trip to Capitol Hill.

If you are interested in becoming more active in the movement to enhance the status of direct support professionals and raise awareness of the importance of direct support, please consider attending this conference. Start planning and fundraising now! Join other DSPs and supporters in Washington, DC to mark DSP Recognition Week and show our strength and commitment.

Legislative Advocacy Initiative

It’s Official! Senate Declares National DSP Recognition Week 2010

On June 16, 2010, the U.S. Senate approved Resolution 558, designating the week beginning September 12, 2010, as “National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.” Co-authors were Senators Nelson, Kerry, Brownback, Dodd, Bingaman, Johanns, Collins, Bunning, Carper, Brown of Ohio, and Udall of Colorado.

The resolution describes the important role of DSPs, the current situations of low wages and high turnover, and the need to attract more career-seekers to the direct support workforce. It then declares, “The Senate (1) designates the week beginning September 12, 2010, as `National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week’; (2) recognizes the dedication and vital role of direct support professionals in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of all ages; (3) appreciates the contribution of direct support professionals in supporting the needs that reach beyond the capacities of millions of families in the United States; (4) commends direct support professionals as integral in supporting the long-term support and services system of the United States; and (5) finds that the successful implementation of the public policies of the United States depends on the dedication of direct support professionals.

Plan your celebrations now! Get the word out in your communities, tell your friends and families, and share this with legislators, mayors, and city councils, to increase the visibility of all DSPs across the country. NADSP supports state chapters to hold recognition events and use this opportunity to promote the important work we do. Stay tuned for more! You can read Senate Resolution 558 at thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.+Res.+558:

Collaboration Initiative

SANYS “Walk in Support of Direct Support Professionals”

On September 13th, 2009, the Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) held a “Walk in Support of Direct Support Professionals.” The self advocates planned, organized, created the slogans for the signs, painted the signs (with support) and invited the Direct Support Professional Alliance of New York State (DSPANYS)to join them as their guests and begin an advocacy partnership in New York that promotes valued lives for people with disabilities, while advancing the profession of direct support.

Chapter Initiative – New York (DSPANYS)

DSPANYS Budget Testimony

On January 29th 2009, Theresa Laws a Direct Support Professional from the Rensselaer County ARC, and a founder of DSPANYS, provided testimony to the joint New York State Senate & Assembly Finance Committees. For the first time ever, legislators heard directly from a direct support professional in regard to budget and policy issues in a public forum.

View/Download a copy of the testimony (PDF)

Chapter Initiatives – Minnesota (DSPAM)

DSPAM PCA Testimony

Bridget Siljander, President of the Direct Support Professional Association of Minnesota (DSPAM) testified before the Minnesota legislature about legislation and budget recommendations affecting PCAs. Read her testimony in the following documents:

Testimony supporting a PCA training bill (PDF)

Testimony opposing proposed budget cuts to PCA services (PDF)

Committee Information

Advocacy and Legislation Committee Call

The NADSP Advocacy committee is looking for DSPs, Front Line Supervisors (FLS) and allies to participate in our grass roots advocacy work. We need you to be part of our effort to change policy on the national level. As a committee member you will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, reach out to people around our issues, drive the NADSP policy agenda for the future and just have fun working with great people. Making a difference in the lives of direct support professionals and the people we serve is our goal. For more information or to get involved contact policy@nadsp.org

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