Direct Support Professional

The Direct Support Professional (DSP) is responsible for maintaining a safe, healthy environment for the people supported by providing the personal care necessary to meet their needs. The DSP assists in the development of socialization skills related to daily independent living, family, work, and community life.


  • High School Diploma or GED.
  • Experience in the Human Services field is desirable but not required.
  • The ability to use a variety of computer software is a plus but will train.
  • Valid Maine driver’s license with good driving record.


Direct Support Professional

(Purpose, objectives, and functions of the position)
The whole purpose of what we do is to provide people the opportunity to “have a life”. We strive to create an environment for people to do things safely, on their own, and to the fullest extent possible, as we do for ourselves in our own day-to-day lives. We do not “do for”, we “assist with”, we “support” and we “teach” in situations or activities that a person may not fully and safely be able to do things on their own. Our ultimate mindset needs to be that the individual will do all things and gain the maximum amount of independence as is possible, which means allowing people to be included in everything from community activity, to personal care, to eating, to being part of conversations. Allowing the people we support to fully experience life and have a life is our goal.

The Direct Support Professional (DSP) is responsible for maintaining a safe, clean, comfortable, and healthy environment for the people they serve by providing the personal care necessary to meet their needs. The DSP assists in the development of socialization skills related to daily independent living, family, work, and community life. The DSP may at times be required to work independently. This requires the use of acquired knowledge to make sound decisions and manage emergency situations that may arise. Many of the tasks require the DSP to drive in order to run errands and transport people to and from work, activities and appointments. The DSP will be required to perform routine daily tasks such as assisting with bathing and dressing, shoveling snow, yard upkeep, groceries, laundry, and vacuuming.

HABILITATION: Demonstrate familiarity with each person’s history, social contacts, likes, and dislikes; follow the individual plan recommendations for each person; assist or supervise all aspects of daily living skills (i.e. baths, personal hygiene, grooming, toileting, eating, etc.) allowing for maximum independence. Assist in developing habilitation plans, activities, work, and behavior interaction support plans as prescribed by the Person-Centered Planning (PCP) process. Responsible to follow the nutritional instructions of the people served by the program and as such, will follow a planned menu in the preparation of daily meals or any specifically prescribed diets.

COMMUNICATION: Must communicate directly and in a clear and courteous manner with the people they serve, coworkers, family members, guardians, caseworkers, and the public. The DSP must follow written and verbal directions and actively support JFM’s goals and philosophy. Communication with each person may be verbal, in writing, or through basic sign language or gestures as needed. Must be able to interpret body language, vocalizations, and physiological signs. Must be positive, consistent and appropriate in offering feedback, direction, coaching and support for a person’s psychological and emotional needs as outlined in the person’s plan.

ORGANIZATION: Organize and prioritize the tasks of the job for maximum efficiency. As part of the daily routine, tasks may include preparing reports and other documentation, collecting data, and following both verbal and written instructions pertaining to routines, plans, programs, and activities.

BEHAVIORAL SERVICES: Responsible for consistently following the person’s Behavioral Interaction Support Plan (BISP). This requires intensive and ongoing data collection, ongoing engagement of proactive programs, delivering on reinforcement components, and conducting learning opportunities as provided in the BISP. A variety of restraints may be used which must be consistently followed to ensure safety for the person, staff and others.

COMMUNITY I ACTIVITIES: Assist people in making friends and participating in all aspects of community living (e.g. volunteer groups, charitable activities, etc.). Plan, train, and assist people in developing their individualized and group activity skills such as swimming, bowling, social gatherings, exercise programs, and so forth.

ENVIRONMENT: The DSP will perform the necessary tasks to ensure cleanliness, sanitation, and overall upkeep of the facility in compliance with building codes and in keeping with applicable federal and state regulations. This includes maintaining the appearance of the property and equipment or reporting maintenance needs, taking the necessary precautions to protect property from misuse, vandalism and theft.

SAFETY: Follow procedures and guidelines that will assure the health and safety of each person served by the program, coworkers, and visitors. The DSP will assist with the implementation of an ongoing Safety Program that establishes a high priority for everyone’s safety and provides opportunity for team participation, in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and JFM safety guidelines.

PERSONAL CARE: Be aware of and ensure that all toileting and personal hygiene needs are met, giving the necessary support to ensure the health and comfort of the person. Provide privacy and comfort during invasive procedures. Model and encourage health awareness and healthy behaviors. Identify and address health care issues for each person served and strive to prevent the transmission of disease. Administer medications and document in accordance with prescribed procedures.

MEDICAL CARE: Observe, record, and report any unusual symptoms, suspicion of illness, seizure, or seizure-like activity and be able to give basic medical care in emergency situations (i.e. injury, seizures, choking, lacerations, vomiting, etc.). The DSP is accountable to the Program Administrator for the maintenance of medical records, procedures and documentation. The DSP will at times accompany people to medical / therapy appointments, advocate for the person’s needs and see that those needs are addressed at all appointments as outlined in the Medical Services procedure manual, ensuring that medical documentation is accurate and complete, and communicate any instructions received at the appointments.

FINANCIAL: Assistance in managing the financial affairs of the facility is delegated to all employees which include: following approved budgets, staying within appropriate shopping guidelines, handling petty cash, and assisting people with personal expenditures.

TEAMWORK: Maintaining a sense of team spirit and staff cooperation in the facility is a goal for all JFM programs. The DSP is responsible for modeling and providing feedback to the team and be accountable for the quality and quantity of their work. It is important that each employee be able to work cooperatively within the team, manage change constructively, communicate clearly, and represent the team positively.

TRAINING: The DSP is responsible for their personal development by seeking appropriate in-service and on-the-job training and staying abreast of new developments and agency procedures. It is important that the DSP maintains a good understanding of the changing program needs of each person served by the program. The DSP must successfully complete required training applicable to the agency and program needs, which may include: Introduction to Mental Retardation, JFM History, Behavioral Programming, NAPPI, Preventing Disease Transmission, Sexual Harassment, First Aid, CPR.

COMPLIANCE I REPORTING: The DSP is accountable for compliance with all JFM procedures, policies, and federal I. state / local regulations. These include, but are not limited to the restriction of rights, abuse/neglect/exploitation/mistreatment reporting, behavior reporting, quality assurance reporting, and data collection/record keeping. Any knowledge or suspicion of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation of a person served by JFM must immediately be reported to the Administrator or any management official. Report any changes or issues that may have impact on the safety, health, cleanliness and/or comfort of each person served by the program or their environment to the Administrator.

DRIVING & VEHICLE USE: The DSP shall have a valid Maine Driver’s License and is responsible for maintaining a good driving record. It is highly desirable for the DSP to have a reliable vehicle of his/her own in cases when use of privately owned vehicles is needed for the transportation of the people served by JFM. The DSP is required to demonstrate proper driving techniques and that routine vehicle inspections and maintenance checks are completed.

SCHEDULING: The program supervisors hold primary responsibility to develop employee schedules for the proper staffing of the program. Primary emphasis is on ensuring that the needs of the people served by the program are met, while maintaining a cohesive team environment to preclude scheduling conflicts and promote staff retention. JFM operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which may require working holidays, weekends, and overtime. It is imperative that employees are punctual in working the scheduled hours; arrive to work on time and work to the end of the shift.

SUPPORT FOR OTHER POSITIONS: The DSP may be required to fill in or stay beyond scheduled times to cover during unforeseen circumstances such as sickness, call-outs, or when crisis situations occur and no other staff is available.

OTHER DUTIES: May be asked to participate on JFM committees or work on a variety of projects and produce reports at the request of the supervisor. Other related duties may be added to this job description as needed.

Confidentiality: Daily contacts with sensitive issues are the norm. All activity requires conducting business with strict adherence to confidentiality.

Decision-Making: The DSP is responsible for day-to-day routine decisions relating to the coordination of care, health, and safety of the people served by JFM. Any non-routine decisions are to be referred to the supervisor.

Contacts (internal and external): Interfacing with others both within and outside JFM is constant and essential. The DSP will attend meetings to communicate program initiatives and needs.

Environment / Physical Demands: The DSP is responsible for numerous tasks; daily work activity is conducted in both indoor and outdoor environments. Physical activity includes assisting or lifting up to 50 pounds, walking, transferring, bending, stooping, kneeling, pushing/pulling, reaching, and handling / using cleaning products and disinfectants. Must participate in behavioral restraints using approved techniques and JFM procedures.

Equipment / Machinery Used: Equipment and machinery to assist persons with disabilities and in household settings will be used on a consistent basis in the daily work activity. Kitchen utensils, microwave and conventional ovens, stoves, food processors, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, pool maintenance equipment, wheelchairs, mechanical lifts, adaptive equipment, and so forth are all used.

Education / Experience: High School Diploma or GED. Experience in the Human Services field highly desirable but not required. Ability to use a variety of computer software including word processing, data base, and e-mail a plus.

Skills/Abilities: Familiarity with terms used in the social work arena and experience with DHS / DMR agencies desirable.

Other: Valid Maine driver’s license with good driving record required.