Evaluating Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) on their use and understanding of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) Code of Ethics and the NYS DSP Core Competencies is an important part of New York State’s Workforce Transformation initiative.

All DSPs in New York State are now required to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Core Competencies, and it is up to their Frontline Supervisors (FLSs), the families, or the people receiving support who hire them directly to complete the annual evaluations of their work performance.

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has implemented the NYS DSP Core Competencies and the NYS DSP Performance Evaluation tools that provide standardized expectations, focusing on people-first services and advancing the profession of direct support.

Currently only DSPs are evaluated. There is no evaluation for FLSs, though a non-mandatory FLS Core Competency set is under development.

Currently, there are three different DSP evaluation tools available:

  • The Initial Evaluation Tool
  • The Annual Evaluation Tool
  • Individual/Family/Advocate Tools

Providers are required to use the following published evaluation tools as prescribed. They are not guidelines to create or modify agency-specific forms.

Initial Evaluation for New Hires

The Initial Evaluation is completed by the supervisor, but can also be used as a self-assessment by the DSP. This evaluation is for new hires only and should be delivered near the end of the first three months of employment or within an agency’s designated probationary period, which can be found in the agency’s policy and procedure manual. The probationary period for a DSP is at the agency’s discretion.

There are three formats of this tool: a Short Form Initial Evaluation and a Long Form Initial Evaluation, both excel documents and a fillable PDF version (download and open in Adobe Acrobat, file will not open in the web browser).

The short form evaluation is not condensed except in appearance. We did this because many providers found the long versions too bulky. We relegated the many Example Tasks to drop boxes. They are “hidden” until you pass the cursor over a skill, at which time the relevant Example Tasks re-appear for reference or editing.

Annual Evaluation

The Annual Evaluation tool is completed by the supervisor every year close to or on the anniversary of the date of hire. There are also three formats of this tool: A Short Form Annual Evaluation and a Long Form Annual Evaluation, in Excel, and a fillable PDF version. Instructions for completing the fillable PDF are available here as well. Again, the short form is not condensed except in appearance. Example Tasks will appear when a cursor is passed over the document. The PDF version is fillable and the tasks can be viewed in drop-down boxes.

Please note that veteran or experienced DSPs who have not been evaluated before need only be evaluated through an annual evaluation. They do not need to go through the initial process.

If a DSP splits their time between two locations, such as a group home or community habilitation, the overall performance by the DSP at both locations should be melded into one inclusive evaluation.

Individual / Family / Advocate Evaluation

There are two different tools that can be used to evaluate DSPs who work in a setting where a supervisor is not present.

The Interview Tool, can be is used to gain information on how a DSP is providing service in accordance to the Core Competencies and Code of Ethics in a setting where a supervisor is not present. Supervisors can use this tool to obtain assessment information about a DSP when the person receiving services, family member or advocate is unable to complete the written evaluation. The questions within the seven goal areas can be tailored to the type of services or supports being provided.

The Written Tool is an evaluation form designed to be used by the person receiving services, family members, or advocates who are able to give written feedback about the DSP who is providing service to them. This information will be used by the DSP’s supervisor to inform them on how they are performing their job. The questions within the seven goal areas can be tailored to the type of services or supports being provided.

These evaluations should be conducted on the DSP’s anniversary date. Please note that whatever is said or written down is not confidential and will be shared to support the staff person to improve his/her skills and work performance.

All communications between the FLS and the individual/family/advocate, even those that were not responded to, must be documented. The agency is responsible to make sure DSP evaluations are completed, so the RCWT recommend agencies and/or providers create a policy and procedure to ensure they get done.

Best practice encourages oversight and feedback and checking in with the families to ensure the services are being delivered as written and agreed upon.

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