National Core Indicators Staff Stability Survey

Improving employment and retention for direct support professionals

Working with NASDDDS, states, and service provider agencies, we examine workforce conditions and opportunities for support staff for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A stable DSP workforce has a critical bearing on quality of life for people with disabilities, expanding opportunities to live lives of their choosing in inclusive communities.


The Staff Stability Survey helps states assess the DSP workforce—in terms of trends, strengths, challenges, and obstacles. With a more comprehensive understanding of the status of this workforce, states can launch informed efforts to improve the quality, longevity, and sustainability of the workforce. The data can be used to inform policy and program development, monitor and evaluate the impact of initiatives, compare workforce data to those in other states, and provide context for consumer and family outcomes (measured in National Core Indicators surveys).

  • Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement
  • Systems Design
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Technical Assistance and Training
  • Dissemination

Establishing measures of a stable and quality Direct Support Workforce

The Staff Stability Survey helps states assess their status on measures such as:

  • Workforce volume and capacity
  • Workforce stability
  • Worker compensation
  • Worker retention
  • Workforce quality

Collecting the data

By collecting data from provider agencies and reporting it at the state level, the Staff Stability Survey provides information on:

  • Numbers of full- and part-time employees
  • Turnover and vacancy rates
  • Average length of employment
  • Average and median hourly wages
  • Provided benefits
  • Recruitment and retention strategies
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Each year, the Staff Stability Survey team produces a national report detailing the data aggregated at the state level. The reports are available on the NCI website at

Improving the workforce at the state and local level

State DD agency directors, advocates and provider agencies use Staff Stability data to:

  • Establish goals related to the Direct Support Workforce such as: turnover, vacancy rates, wages, etc. 
  • Evaluate the state’s data compared to data in other states. This has been helpful in securing resources, for changing policies, and to suggest implementation strategies.
  • Track progress related to policy/programmatic changes. 
  • Improve program and policy planning.
  • Assist state leaders in formulating policy positions.
  • Facilitate productive discussions and activities with the state’s service provider agencies, DSPs and provider networks.
Project Partner(s):

NASDDDS | National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services

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