Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Continuing Reforms, OPWDD Commissioner Establishes Consortium on Core Competencies & Support for Direct Care Workers Statewide

Agency Raises Bar on Workforce Expectations & Supports

(ALBANY, NY) Continuing critical reforms at the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), new Commissioner Courtney Burke has announced the formation of the Developmental Disabilities Talent and Development Consortium—a group tasked with the development and implementation of new standards for direct support professionals statewide.

The first project of the consortium will be to deliver a report on core competencies required to modernize the state’s model of service for 126,000 individuals with developmental disabilities. The consortium will also develop a training and development plan to support direct support professionals in mastering the competencies, as well as forecast talent development trends in the field of developmental disabilities.

Commissioner Burke said, "The health and safety of the individuals we serve is our highest priority, and doing that to the best of our ability requires consistently improving on our skills. For the first time in its more than 30-year history, OPWDD is modernizing the competencies required of staff and is implementing a comprehensive plan that provides our direct care employees with the support and resources they need to succeed."

In recent years, the role of the direct support professional has changed as OPWDD continues to move from its institutional history to a community-based service delivery model that better serves individuals receiving care. Developing an enterprise-wide training will modernize the system, improve the quality of care provided to individuals, and establish long overdue consistency in the expectations of direct care employees.

Special competency areas, such as autism, will be identified and a curriculum developed to support unique needs.

The consortium includes a 24-member workgroup, which ensures a collaborative approach by involving self-advocates, family members, OPWDD staff, and nonprofit providers, as well as a 27-member steering committee that consists of representatives from the direct care field, academia, and national experts in the field of developmental disabilities. Members include representatives from the Center for Disability Services, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Adirondack ARC, National Alliance of Direct Support, Self-Advocacy Association of NY, United Cerebral Palsy, SUNY Stony Brook, New York Association of Emerging & Multicultural Providers, Inc., Southeast Works, and Heritage Christian Services, among many more.