The Arc of Orange County to receive the 2016 Moving Mountains Best Practice Award

The Arc of Orange County to receive the 2016 Moving Mountains Best Practice Award given by the National Association of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and The University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center.

The award recognizes organizations using best practices in direct support staff workforce development that result in improved outcomes for people being supported. The Arc of Orange County employs hundreds of direct support professionals (DSP’s) who work closely with people who have developmental disabilities to advocate for and assist them with inclusion in all aspects of life– at home, school, the workplace and in the community. The award will be presented to the organization in July at the 2016 Reinventing Quality Conference in Baltimore for their Direct Support Professional Achievement Program.

The Arc of Orange County introduced this initiative to provide an avenue for professional development for direct support professionals aimed at enhancing their abilities and skills to further support the people they worked with to become productive and respected members of their communities. Christopher Fortune, executive director of The Arc of Orange County explained, “Filling out the application for the award gave us the opportunity to reflect and realize that we have accomplished many achievements related to the professionalization of direct support staff over the past few years including: over 300 staff have taken the College of Direct Support online training offered by the University of Minnesota; ALL employees are trained in the DSP Competencies and the DSP Code of Ethics; we have incorporated the code of ethics and competencies into orientation for all new staff; 3 employees have been awarded a Credential from the NADSP; 8 employees are currently working on submitting a portfolio to the NADSP to earn a credential this year; a new group of employees are looking to start the credentialing process; We Achieved CQL Accreditation in 2014; Information from Personal Outcome Measure (POM) Interviews shows that we are doing a better job helping the people we support achieve the outcomes they desire; and the improvements in people achieving outcomes is directly related to the work of DSP’s.”

Fortune acknowledged the work of Lynn Sereta, assistant director of staff development at The Arc of Orange County, “Lynn has organized the College of Direct Support Training for all employees that have taken the on line class. She has worked directly with everyone working on the NADSP Credential and has developed an expertise in the DSP Competencies which is invaluable as employees seek a credential.” Fortune also acknowledged all of the staff wo have taken The Code of Ethic and Competencies training, as well as, “Everyone who has taken the College of Direct Support and everyone who participates in POM interviews to help us know how we are doing. Finally thanks to all DSP’s as we work together to make sure the community understands that there is a real big “P” (Professional) in DSP.”

The Arc of Orange County is one of NYSARC, Inc.’s 48 chapters statewide which support a total of more than 60,000 people with developmental disabilities. Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Newburgh, The Arc of Orange County’s 650 employees provide an array of educational, clinical, employment, residential, and day services for more than 1,800 people of all ages living in Orange County who have developmental disabilities. For more information on the organization please visit

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