Program Description and Purpose 

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often need life-long supports and services to ensure health and safety while also accessing and participating in their local communities. These supports and services are often provided on a day-to-day basis by Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).

There is a significant need and in turn value to investing in DSP workforce stabilization and promoting stronger capacity across the continuum to support people with IDD. Specifically, this initiative calls for piloting a DSP credentialing structure to test best practice approaches to DSP stabilization through career ladders. The DSP Workforce Capacity Grants provide one-time grants to five (1 per DDP region) service providers for, on average, 25 DSPs to become credentialed through the National Alliance for Direct Support Professional platform eBadge Academy, a web-based credentialing platform. The Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) will pre-purchase access to the credentialing platform on behalf of selected agencies, as well as some technical assistance support from NADSP. Grant funds will cover staff time for DSPs participating in the credentialing program as well as “backfilled” staff to cover the shift time of staff enrolled in the credentialing program; payroll processing, grant reporting and tracking and other administrative costs incurred by selected provider agencies; and one-time incentive bonuses to DSPs once they reach credentialing tiers, as modeled below: 

DSP – I (Tier 1) –$1,000 

DSP – II (Tier 2)  – $1,500 

DSP – III (Tier 3) – $2,000

DSPs enrolled in the NADSP eBadge Academy must complete the following under each tier to be eligible for the one-time bonuses; a DSP may achieve all three Tiers. 


To earn a DSP – I certification, the DSP must earn 15 total E-Badges, including: 

  • The Code of Ethics Commitment E-Badge 
  • The 50 hours of Accredited Education E-Badge 
  • At least one E-Badge in Crisis Prevention and Intervention 
  • At least one E-Badge in Person-Centered Practices 
  • At least one E-Badge in Health and Wellness and 
  • At least one E-Badge in Safety 


To earn DSP – II certification, the DSP must earn 30 total E-Badges, including: 

  • The DSP-I E-Badge
  • The 100 hours of Accredited Education E-Badge 
  • At least one E-Badge in Evaluation and Observation 
  • At least E-Badge in Communication 
  • At least one E-Badge in Professionalism and Ethics and 
  • At least one E-Badge in Community Inclusion and Networking 


To earn DSP – III certification, the DSP must earn 50 total E-Badges, including: 

  • The DSP-II E-Badge 
  • At least one E-Badge in Empowerment and Advocacy 
  • At least one E-Badge in Community Living Skills and Supports 
  • At least one E-Badge in Education, Training, and Self-Development 
  • At least one E-Badge in Cultural Competence

The Autism Facilities Grant (AFG) Program provides one-time funding, up to $400,000, for the construction or renovation of autism facilities designed and equipped to provide services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Funds will be awarded on a first come first serve basis until all funds are expended. Applicants may apply for any amount ranging between $0 to $400,000. The Department of Public Health and Human Services (the Department) reserves the right to award less than the requested amount.

Eligible applicants must agree to use awarded funds to create an autism facility that provides services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, including but not limited to, housing, therapy, and other support services.  Applicants must be able to:

  1. Match dollar per dollar the requested amount.
  2. Provide plans for the construction and development of autism facilities in the state. 

Applicants should review The Autism Facilities Grant (AFG) Manual which contains more information about application requirements. The AFG manual may be accessed here.

State of Montana