Developmental Services

The Maine College of Direct Support

Completion of the Maine College of Direct Support (ME CDS) is required for Direct Support Professionals supporting Maine citizens with intellectual disabilities and replaces the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Curriculum as meeting the training requirements for MaineCare Sections 21 and 29. People who obtained their DSP Certificate prior to implementation of CDS are not required to complete the Maine College of Direct Support.

The ME CDS consists of 46 online lessons and 11 topics of classroom coursework. The classroom coursework is intended to provide an opportunity for learners to ask questions, share experiences, participate in learning exercises, and generally deepen their knowledge and understanding on a topic covered in the online lessons. Classes cover material above and beyond that which is found in the online material and in which OADS Disability Services feels Direct Support Professionals must demonstrate competency.

For a list of required lessons (word*)

Types of Certificates

Currently, there are four types of certificates available in the Maine College of Direct Support that can only be obtained through an agency providing services to people with intellectual disabilities:

1. Maine College of Direct Support Certificate
This is required for anyone providing direct care in Home Supports and Community Supports. In addition to the 46 online lessons and classroom coursework, learners also have access to the entire College of Direct Support and the College of Frontline Supervision and Management.

2. Maine College of Direct Support - Shared Living Provider Certificate
The Maine CDS - Shared Living Certificate consists of the same 46 online lessons but replaces the classroom coursework with one-to-one discussion in required areas of competency with a DHHS approved Preceptor.  This is required for anyone providing supports in the shared living model and includes individuals providing respite for a single Shared Living Provider.  Individuals who provide respite for more than one Shared Living Provider or Shared Living Providers interested in working as Direct Support Professionals in any other capacity must complete the Maine CDS Certificate.

3. Maine College of Direct Support - Work Supports Certificate
This certificate is required, along with the Maine CDS Certificate, for any DSP that is providing Work Supports as defined in MaineCare Section 21 and 29. This certificate is not required if the staff person is a certified Employment Specialist and completed the Maine CDS Certificate. More information on completing the Employment Specialist requirements can be found at

4. Maine College of Direct Support – Case Manager Orientation Certificate
This online module contains 10 lessons to introduce new case managers, serving adults with intellectual disabilities, to their roles. The lessons also serve as a resource for veteran case managers.  It is available via the Maine College of Direct Support for self enrollment or can be assigned by any CDS Administrator.

Accommodations for Deaf Staff
Occasionally, Adult Developmental Services recognizes certification through the DSP Curriculum as a reasonable accommodation for training staff who are deaf. For more information about this accommodation, contact the training coordinator in your district office.

Access for People Other Than DSP's
Anyone affiliated with DHHS Adult Developmental Services, including people receiving services and their families, service providers, agency board members and volunteers, case managers, and others, can have access to Maine's College of Direct Support. Access is given by Developmental Services Provider Agencies across the state.

ME CDS Administrators
DHHS Adult Developmental Services is a statewide Learning Administrator working with local administrators to monitor the overall Learning Management System and improve delivery of Maine CDS training.

Local administrators are Developmental Services provider agencies offering the Maine CDS Certificate of completion. Agencies can either contract directly with the College of Direct Support or sub-contract with another agency for Learning Administrator services.

List of agencies that provide Learning Administrator services.

Conducting CDS Live classes
Materials have been created to support the live training component of the Maine College of Direct Support (CDS) lessons. The intent is to provide activities and discussion that will reinforce and integrate the online learning.

Some instructors conduct a brief overview of the topics and how they relate to the DSP role before learners start the online lessons, then bring learners back together after they complete the online lessons for review, discussion, etc.

The following classes have been created within the Maine CDS LMS so that Administrator and/or sub-administrators can record the learners' completion of the live classes.

Course Code Course Name
ME Communication ME Communication classroom
ME Inclusion live ME Community Inclusion classroom
ME Cultural live ME Cultural Competence classroom
ME Documentation ME Documentation classroom
ME DSP Live ME DSP Professionalism classroom
ME Sxlty live ME Human Sexuality Classroom
ME Rights class ME Individual Rights and Choice Classroom
ME Intro DD class ME Intro DD classroom
ME Maltreatment live ME Maltreatment classroom
ME PBS live ME Positive Behavioral Support classroom
ME Teaching live ME Teaching Individuals with DD classroom

To access the classroom content at Maine CDS Instructor Guide

Documenting Live Classes in ME CDS
In order to record attendance and give credit for live classes, CDS Administrators or sub-administrators need to schedule these classes within CDS LMS.

To do this log-in to CDS, then:

  1. Click on Administrator mode
  2. Click on Classes & Events - Schedule New Event
  3. In the Course Name box, enter ME
  4. Click on Search
  5. Click on the name of the class you want to schedule
  6. Fill in the fields as needed. Replace my name as contact

You may cluster several topics within one class session if you wish. For example, you might create a Class that includes Maltreatment, Rights, and Positive Behavior Supports. If you do this, please list each topic in the Course Description box so you will be able to verify exactly which topics the learner has completed.

Once you have scheduled a class, you may sign up learners and record their attendance/completion.

Completion of the Maine required lessons
When a learner has competed the online and live sessions for any one of the Maine College of Direct Support certificates, the Learning Administrator documents the completion in Ontrack (see below) and may also print the appropriate Maine CDS certificate to be presented to the learner.  Completing Ontrack is important not only for current reporting, but to ensure people get credit for completing their certificate even if the specific requirements might change in the future.

Learning Administrators can obtain the links for the CDS Certificates by contacting the training coordinator in the district office nearest you.

Maine-specific Ontrack items
There are Ontrack items for "Maine CDS Certificate", "Maine DSP Certificate", "Maine Work Supports Certificate", "Maine CDS – Shared Living Certificate" and "Maine Case Manager Orientation Certificate". This gives you a single item to look for when you want to verify if someone has completed any or all of these courses. The Ontrack items show up in transcripts using either the "Show All" tab or the "Ontrack" tab.  Administrators should record completion of each of these certificates using the Classes and Events / Ontrack function.

Administrator Procedures
Additional information on Procedures for Maine CDS Administrators can be obtained from the training coordinator in the district office nearest you.