By James F. Gardner, PhD, CQL CEO and President & Joseph M. Macbeth, NADSP Executive Director
The National Alliance for Direct support Professionals (NADSP) and CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership recognize the fundamental and essential role that members of the human service workforce play in supporting quality of life for the people.
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has long held that the presence of a stable, committed and professional direct support workforce – one grounded in ethical standards and trained to proficiency in person-centered supports – is critical to the success of any human service agency in its fundamental mission of assuring the health, safety and growth of the individuals it supports.
CQL has incorporated workforce factors into quality metrics for many years and the research and data analysis has proven the critical importance of a well-trained, stable and qualified workforce for quality of life for persons’ receiving services.
CQL’S Research and Data Analysis
CQL conducts accreditation reviews with hundreds of human service providers that promote and examine the organization’s workforce achievements in the areas of:
- Basic Assurances®
- Person-centered Excellence
Analysis of findings from CQL’s work in the field reveals the critical role that the workforce has in supporting person-centered quality. This analysis has identified the most critical areas for organizational focus and quality improvement efforts. The data demonstrate that attention to these items – where organizational systems are put into practice in response to individual needs and situations – will lead to increased assurances in the areas of overall fundamental health, safety and security for the people supported.
Published in 2005, CQL’s Basic Assurances® include ten factors and 46 indicators that are a balance between concerns for individual health, safety and security and the necessity of social constructs such as respect, natural supports and social networks to ensure sustainable outcomes for people.
Included in the top 23 indicators found to contribute most significantly to overall success is Factor Seven: Staff Resources and Supports and specifically the following indicators:
- 7b. The organization implements an ongoing staff development program.
- 7c. The support needs of individuals shape the hiring, training and assignment of all staff.
- 7d. The organization implements systems that promote continuity and consistency of direct support professionals.
Organizations working on CQL’s new Person-centered Excellence Accreditation complete an onsite process that involves stakeholders from across the organization and the community, working in small and large groups, to assess and select priorities for making organization change and increasing person-centered supports and services. The priorities they select may be areas that the organization is already doing well and needs to continue and expand; or they may be areas that need to be started or addressed. The organization develops a Plan for Person-centered Excellence is based on these priorities.
CQL is tracking the priorities that organizations have selected and data from the first 50 organizations accredited indicate that one of the top three priorities across all organizations to date is this indicator from Factor Five: Workforce 5a. The workforce is stable and qualified.
CQL’s research findings showing that workforce factors and
related indicators were among the top key elements contributing the most
significantly to human service agencies’ overall success are consonant with
NADSP’s belief and underscore the importance of NADSP’s vision and purpose: to enhance the status of direct support professionals
and promote the development of a highly competent human services workforce.
CQL’s findings ring true and are in harmony
with NADSP’s efforts to enhance human services through the promulgation of a
Code of Ethics for direct support workers; the adoption of nationally validated
person-centered community support skill standards as the basis for its approved
training programs; the establishment of a national credentialing program for
direct support workers who demonstrate
proficiency in the skill standards; and the creation of a nationwide network
and learning community for direct support professionals.
NADSP is dedicated to promoting the development of a highly competent human services workforce which supports the individuals it serves. It strives to do this in many ways, including:
• Enhancing the status of direct support professionals;
• Providing better access for all direct support professionals to high quality educational experiences (e.g., in-service training, continuing and higher education) and lifelong learning which enhances competency;
• Strengthening the working relationships and partnerships between direct support professionals, self-advocates, and other consumer groups and families;
• Promoting systems reform to provide incentives for educational experiences, increased compensation, and access to career pathways for direct support professionals; and
• Offering a competency-based credentialing process for interested direct support professionals based on nationally accepted community support skill standards and a Code of Ethics.
Additional NADSP resources
Additional CQL resources: