In the United States, direct support professionals (DSPs) support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) so they can live in the community. Thirty years of deinstitutionalization and the development of community living options would not have been possible without DSPs. Although life for people with IDD improved greatly, working conditions, wages/benefits, demands, stress/burnout, and trauma experienced by DSPs have worsened. Turnover and vacancy rates threaten the availability of community supports for too many people with IDD. DSPs from diverse racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds face significant workplace disparities. These issues were discussed during the Research and Training Center on Community Living’s 2022 State of the Science Conference. We propose important research questions needing solutions to continue constructively addressing these critical issues.

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