Abstract

The Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce has experienced a multidecade period of disinvestment in the field leading to DSPs being in high demand, while efforts to recruit, train, and retain these professionals pose challenges. To gain a better understanding of the needs of DSPs themselves, 440 survey responses and 24 interviews of DSPs were analyzed to understand what would help DSPs do their jobs better and ensure they feel more supported by their agencies. Results revealed six distinct support needs: (a) ensure quality participatory management practices, (b) provide fair compensation and recognition, (c) enhance access to training opportunities, (d) assure reliable and quality staffing, (e) adequately fund basic needs of both programs and people receiving support, and (f) maintain reasonable job expectations.

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