OPWDD-Commissioners Correspondence Unit

To STAKEHOLDERS
11:45 AM

July 16, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), as part of a system-wide initiative, is taking another significant step to support our workforce with the adoption of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals’ Code of Ethics. This code will help direct support professionals across New York maintain the highest standards in providing quality services to the individuals we support.

The Code of Ethics covers nine broad areas and outlines standards of conduct and professionalism for all direct support professionals. They are: 1) person-centered supports; 2) promoting physical and emotional well-being; 3) integrity and responsibility; 4) confidentiality; 5) justice, fairness, and equity; 6) respect; 7) relationships; 8) self-determination; and 9) advocacy.

OPWDD is adopting the national code at the recommendation of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Talent Development Consortium, a diverse group representing our stakeholders: people with developmental disabilities, parents, OPWDD senior staff, provider associations, voluntary agencies, employee labor unions, academia, and national workforce experts. The consortium was created last year to design, implement, and maintain a consistent, outcome-focused approach to developing and sustaining talent in the field of developmental disabilities. Adoption of the code also supports the recommendation of Clarence Sundram, the governor’s special advisor on vulnerable persons, who in his report outlined numerous initiatives to enhance the development of New York’s direct support workforce.

Each day, direct support professionals face ethical challenges that require sound judgment and which impact the lives of those we support.

Most of us already have a personal set of values—or ethical code—that guides our lives. This professional code goes beyond personal values; however, articulating the standards that must guide our delivery of services and supports. It helps employees make decisions in their daily work and can unite direct support professionals around these consistent standards, which will help support their work as a true profession that requires proficiency in universal skill sets.

As OPWDD begins to integrate this Code of Ethics as our professional standard, we also will work with our voluntary partners as they extend this code to all direct support professionals across our service system.

Adoption of the national code exemplifies our commitment in New York to provide the highest quality services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. A copy of the Code of Ethics is attached. For more information, please visit www.nadsp.org.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Burke