A Review of Current Information about the Careers of the Direct Support Professional Workforce in the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Service Delivery Systems

Source: Richard C. Baron, UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration Department of Psychiatry – University of Pennsylvania, October 2007

The Southeast Behavioral Health Industry Partnership has recently published a new study of the direct care professional workforce. The Report – A Review of Current Information about the Careers of the Direct Support Professional Workforce in the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Service Delivery Systems – begins with a comprehensive review of the characteristics, job roles and responsibilities, demographic characteristics, compensation, tenure and reported job satisfaction of behavioral health frontline workers in institutional and community settings. The report also looks at required competencies, competency-based training opportunities for the workforce, work-based learning models and career development challenges for direct care professionals, leading to a dozen recommendations for change to better recognize and reward these critical workers. The report provides both a state and national analysis of the need for the development of more effective career paths for entry-level workers.

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