REALISTIC JOB PREVIEWS
Rosio, an "employee of the quarter" winner, tells what she likes most about her job.
What is Direct Support?
Community Interface Services offers a vast and flexible array of services and supports to adults with developmental disabilities (clients); Direct Support Professionals (job coaches, resource counselors, substitutes, roommates, and relief staff) provide the hands-on delivery of these services in people's homes, at their work sites, and in the community. Direct support is where the "rubber meets the road" and where real positive impacts are made. The ultimate goal of all direct services is to help individuals become more independent, more connected and involved with their communities, better self advocates, and less dependent on us!
As a direct support professional, you will spend the majority of your work day in direct contact with adults with developmental disabilities. The people you work with may also have mental health diagnoses, behavioral challenges, health, personal care, or medication needs. Your clients’ level of need, your duties, and your schedule depends upon the service you work in, the position you hold, and your individual case load assignment. You may assist one person in balancing their checkbook, while other individuals will need daily assistance with activities such as eating, using the restroom, or bathing. You may be driving from appointment to appointment, traveling from a bank to the store or to a clients home; or you may be assigned to a stationary work site or traveling with your consumer(s) via public transportation; or you may be hanging out with someone at their home or at the beach, or going to the movies!
People with Developmental Disabilities/Mental Health Diagnoses
Community Interface supports a culturally diverse group of adults with developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities are caused by permanent physical and mental conditions which affect early growth and development and include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, seizures disorders, and autism, or other conditions closely related to intellectual disability. Many individuals with developmental disabilities may also be diagnosed with a serious mental illness. This combination of disabilities is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Some of the more common mental health diagnoses include schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.
People with Behavioral Challenges
Some of the individuals Community Interface Services supports have challenging behaviors. Challenging behaviors may include yelling, hitting, spitting, and hair pulling.
All staff members are trained to address behavioral issues within the framework of positive behavioral intervention. All behaviors serve a purpose and are developed and maintained to meet an important need for an individual; to effectively reduce or eliminate such a behavior, a more appropriate behavior which serves the same purpose must be taught or strengthened. Many individuals we support are successful in replacing challenging behaviors with more socially acceptable behaviors through the help of positive behavioral interventions implemented by caring Direct Support Professionals.
People with Health, Personal Care, or Medication Needs
Community Interface Services supports many people who have physical disabilities and need assistance with transferring from a wheelchair to a bed or toilet, showering, eating, grooming, changing adult disposable briefs, etc. Some individuals use adaptive equipment to assist in their personal care needs, but Direct Support Professionals need to be able to lift 50 pounds or more. Direct Support Staff are trained on safe lifting techniques and assisting individuals with intimate personal care in a professional and respectful manner. Some individuals may take regular medications and require assistance to ensure safe and proper dosages are taken as directed.
Direct Support Staff may assist individuals in accessing medical care and are responsible for monitoring the general health and safety of all the individuals they support.
What Other Responsibilities do Direct Support Professionals Have?
While the primary role of a Direct Support Professional is to provide quality daily support at home, on the job, or in the community, there are many other important aspects of the positions.
Other duties include:
- Documenting services provided
- Developing curriculum aimed a teaching desired skills
- Accurately recording work hours and mileage
- Maintaining regular and professional communication with supervisors, coworkers, clients, family members, funders, and other service providers
- Understanding and following regulations, policies and procedures
- Becoming a mandated reporter of adult abuse
- Attending mandatory training and staff meetings
- Representing Community Interface Services in a professional manner to all its customers
- Driving a personal vehicle during work which may include transporting clients
- Maintaining a positive attitude and fostering a healthy work environment
- Adhering to a strict code of ethics and avoiding conflicts of interest
- Arriving to work on time and maintaining regular attendance
- Protecting client's rights
- Community education through modeling of appropriate interactions with persons with developmental disabilities
- Preserving the confidentiality of persons served
Why Be a Direct Support Professional?
While there are plenty of responsibilities in direct support work, there are many benefits as well.
Some of our Direct Support Professionals had the following to say on a staff survey:
“I have pride in the fact that I’m contributing to the betterment of another person’s life.”
“I feel my job is very important and extremely rewarding. What makes my day is seeing smiles on all the [clients] faces. I feel good knowing that I can help make somebody’s day better.”
“I like the flexible schedule and the positive atmosphere...”
“...my job remains challenging. I don’t think I have ever had a boring day at work.”
“I really enjoy this job and the day to day ups and down that come with it. Everyday is different which keeps it interesting and makes it go by fast.”
“I am proud of my work and the changes I have helped come true for the clients and their families.”
“It feels good to make a difference in the clients lives and in the community at large.”
“Seeing the progress made by the clients I work with is the most exciting and satisfying part of my job.”
“When I see them [clients] do something new that makes my day.”
“One of the greatest things...is how 99% of the time, I wake up wanting to go to work, enjoy the chaos of [the] day, and go home laughing with stories to share.”
“This is the best job I have had.”
Once a Direct Support Professional joins our team, there are many skills to master. We provide training designed to help you succeed. Sometimes new staff members feel overwhelmed by the amount of information to absorb. Rest assured, your initial training and support should all come together as you gain more experience and become more comfortable with you new role. You will attend new employee orientation. You will spend time observing your coworkers and benefit from their experiences. You will learn about and meet your assigned clients. You will meet regularly with your supervisor. You will attend regular staff meetings, typically once or twice per month. We have an open door policy and work as a team: someone is always available for questions or moral support.
New employee orientation covers developmental disabilities; the California developmental disabilities service system; regulatory issues; health and safety related topics; assisting individuals with personal care and lifting; agency values, philosophy, policies, and procedures; positive behavioral intervention: personnel and employment practices; clients rights; documentation procedures; direct service implementation and practices; and CPR/First Aid if required. Ongoing training include reviews of the above and a multitude of new and innovative Direct Support and professional development related topics.
Current Positions and Further Information
Use this link to our Job Descriptions page to learn more about current positions. We require our direct service support personnel to have a vehicle in safe working order, a California Driver's License, insurance, and a good driving record.
Paid Roommate Positions
Paid Roommates provide companionship, personal attendant services, respite, and direct support for agency clients authorized to receive Supported Living Services or Respite Services. Direct Service Personnel promote the agency’s mission, values and “Standards of Excellence.”
Supported Living direct service/personal assistance services may include, but are not limited to: facilitation, assistance, and support in financial management, including check cashing, purchasing activities, budgeting, and bill paying; correspondence with official agencies; meal preparation, including cooking, shopping, and menu planning; personal health and hygiene; home and community safety; activities essential to the health and welfare of the consumer, such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, and other activities of daily living; and other household work related to the care being provided.
Relief/Respite Workers provide companionship, personal attendant services, respite, and direct support for agency clients authorized to receive Supported Living Services or Respite Services. Direct Service Personnel promote the agency’s mission, values and “Standards of Excellence.”
Relief/Respite services may include, but is not limited to: providing in-home support and supervision; attending to the consumer’s basic self-help needs and activities of daily living including interaction, socialization, and continuation of usual daily routines; and engaging in activities essential to the health and welfare of the consumer, such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, and other activities of daily living.
Independent Living Resource Counselors/
Supported Employment Job Coaches
The Resource Counselor/Job Coach functions as a member of the interdisciplinary planning team and is responsible for assessing needs and designing/implementing support strategies for adults with developmental disabilities within the Independent Living and Supported Employment services. Services are designed to support clients in community arrangements, to foster the development of integrated work, community living and recreational inclusion, and develops functional, critical, and self-advocacy skills. The Resource Counselor/Job Coach supports and promotes the agency’s mission, values, and “Standards of Excellence.”
The Resource Counselor/Job Coach evaluates and documents consumer’s monthly progress related to his/her plan; provides direct service in many settings including the home, work site, and community of the consumer which may include, but is not limited to: on-the-job training and job coaching, developing a schedule, providing corresponding vocational and independent living training in the consumer’s home or community settings, developing individual or small group curriculum for instruction in the home or community, leading curriculum activities/discussions, fostering self advocacy, communication, mobility, and delivering community safety skills training; developing and expanding the individual’s participation in and access to typical and generic community activities and services; assist in acquiring reasonable accommodations and/or adaptive equipment as needed to facilitate work or independent living; communicating all progress/needs concerning employment, vocational development, and/or independent living to the unit supervisor and employer; manages, with workgroup of other Resource Counselors/Job Coaches, the case management list to ensure timely and sufficient delivery of services to all authorized clients; and complies with all federal, state, and/or local reporting and disclosure requirements while maintaining the confidentiality inherent between the consumer and agency employees.
Vocational Resource Counselors
The Vocational Resource Counselor functions as a member of the interdisciplinary planning team to support clients with developmental disabilities. Vocation Services are designed to foster integrated work, community inclusion, and self-advocacy. The Resource Counselor is responsible for direct service provision, and supports and promotes the agency’s mission, values, and “Standards of Excellence.”
The Vocational Resource Counselor assists the consumer in developing an Individual Support Plan in conjunction with those persons who are most concerned and knowledgeable about the consumer and his/her future and welfare; develops, in conjunction with the consumer and supervisor, a plan to implement agreed upon objectives; evaluates and documents the consumer’s monthly progress related to his/her plan; developing a schedule and providing corresponding vocational training in community settings and assisting in completing work tasks, developing small group curriculum for instruction in the community, leading curriculum activities/discussions, and providing personal care.
Substitute Resource Counselors
In the absence of the Resource Counselor, the Substitute Resource Counselor temporarily and on an intermittent basis performs direct service in a variety of programs. Substitutes carry out scheduled direct service and related duties as assigned.
The Substitute Resource Counselor establishes a constructive and appropriate relationship with each individual; implements individual program objectives and scheduled activities, acts as a consumer’s advocate, encourages each individual’s self-advocacy, and documents consumer’s progress on case notes.
I'm Interested. What do I do next?
If you are interested in any of our positions, there are several ways you can proceed:
1. Apply in person at 2621 Roosevelt Street in Carlsbad.
A map to CIS is available at this link.
2. Download a job application at this link, and submit electronically or fax it to us at 760-729-8526 (How to submit electronically: The PDF form can be saved on your computer and sumbitted later when you are ready. You can submit the form by using the "Submit" button in the upper left hand corner of the first page. You will need Adobe Acrobat to complete the form.)