The John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Direct Support Workforce Advocacy & Leadership

In 1996, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals’ (NADSP) ideological founder, John F. Kennedy Jr. wrote “Quality is defined at the point of interaction between the staff member and the individual with a disability.”

John’s contribution to the rich Kennedy family legacy of supporting disability issues was that of “developing a comprehensive agenda, informed public policies and effective strategies to strengthen and redefine the emerging role of direct support workers.”

With great thanks to John F. Kennedy Jr. and his colleagues of twenty years ago, on whose shoulders we stand, the NADSP has never been more influential on the national scene of supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. So we name this prestigious award after our founder, John F. Kennedy Jr. and bestow it upon those who have dedicated their careers to upholding this noble vision.

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a distinguished career of excellence and leadership in support of NADSP’s mission to enhance the quality of support provided to people with disabilities through the provision of products, services, and certifications which elevate the status of direct support workers, improve practice standards, promote systems reform and, most importantly, advance the knowledge, skills & values of our dedicated workforce.

The John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Direct Support Workforce Advocacy & Leadership is presented to an individuals in recognition of improving quality at the point of interaction by:

  • Exhibited leadership and commitment to advancing programs and practices aimed toward increasing the knowledge, skills & values of the direct support workforce (in curriculum, services, policy, research, and/or recruitment), and
  • Exemplary programs and practices addressing the knowledge, skills & values of the direct support workforce (in curriculum, services, policy, research, and /or recruitment) at an organizational, state, or national level, and
  • Significant advocacy contributions in furthering the cause of the direct support workforce to access career paths and professional development opportunities and/or for advancing the voice of people with disabilities seeking high quality community-based disability supports.

View Past Winner Profiles