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DIDD Hosts Roundtable Discussion for Direct Support Professionals in Middle Tennessee

Monday, September 20, 2021 | 12:43pm

DIDD Hosts Roundtable Discussion for Direct Support Professionals in Middle Tennessee

Discussion focused on problem-solving around challenges with hiring and retaining new direct care staff.

NASHVILLE – The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) in partnership with the Middle Planning and Policy Council (MPPC) hosted a roundtable discussion for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and providers to discuss barriers and solutions when it comes to recruitment, training and supervision, and retention of DSPs.

“We have an obligation to listen to the challenges that are coming from our DSPs working the front lines and our provider network,” DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner said. “Understanding the challenges they face can help us focus on their needs and create lasting solutions to address the shortages now and in the future.”

Despite the state’s aggressive work with wage increases, the percentage of vacancies and turnover rates continue to be a challenge across the state. The 2020 National Core Indicators Staff Stability Survey reflecting data from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019, indicated Tennessee saw a 52.8% turnover rate of DSPs in 2019 and 42.7% of DSPs left after being employed for less than 6 months.

Keeping dependable and caring DSPs provides a better quality of life for Tennesseans with disabilities.

“Even outside of a pandemic, the work of DSPs is incredibly important and plays a huge role in the department's ability to support Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live the lives they envision for themselves," said Turner.

The DSP Roundtable Event held on September 9, 2021, focused on receiving input and experiences from about 70 DSPs and managers in middle Tennessee.

The information collected at the roundtable discussion provided critical insight into the top concerns of DSPs as the department continues to develop strategies to address the workforce crisis.

About DIDD

DIDD is a state agency responsible for administering services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every day, the department strives to support thousands of people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives through Medicaid waiver Hone and Community-Based Services (HCBS), state-operated ICF/IIDs, and the Family Support Program. DIDD also provides services to children ages birth to three years old with developmental delays or disabilities through the Tennessee Early Intervention System, and children under the age of 18 with disabilities or complex medical needs through the Katie Beckett Program.