THE MISSION of University Legal Services’ Protection and Advocacy Program (ULS-P&A) is to ensure that District of Columbia residents with disabilities have the legal rights to which they are entitled, including the right to be free from harm, the right to individual choice, and the right to full inclusion in the community.
The following are the priorities and objectives for the Protection and Advocacy Program for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities (PADD):
1. The accessibility of public accommodations (private businesses open to the public), government-funded programs (including public schools and public charter schools) and polling places will be improved so people with developmental disabilities have equal access to such programs and services.
- Advocate systemically and in select individual cases that arise for access by developmental disabilities who are denied equal access to government-funded programs, public accommodations and voting sites.
- Improve compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Help America Vote Act and other civil rights laws to make public entities, voting sites and public accommodations accessible by conducting training and outreach to people with disabilities, family members, businesses and the community.
2. Investigate abuse and/or neglect complaints and address instances where there is probable cause to believe there may have been abuse or neglect.
- Monitor CPEP, St. Elizabeths Hospital and the Psychiatric Institute of Washington and community-based day programs to identify and address instances of abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities.
- Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities in institutions, community residential and day settings and schools and advocate for appropriate corrective action.
3. People with developmental disabilities will receive quality supports, consumer choice and services in the most integrated setting from the Department on Disability Services and the Department of Health Care Finance.
- Provide individual representation to people with developmental disabilities seeing appropriate and necessary supports from the Department on Disability Services, and the Department of Health Care Finance.
- Participate in meetings and conduct presentations for people with disabilities, community organizations and government committees to advocate for people with developmental disabilities’ right to have their choices respected and to receive quality services in the most integrated and appropriate setting.
- Educate policymakers on proposed policies, rules or other proposal that impact the right of people with DD to receive quality supports in the most integrated setting and to have their choices respected.
- Continue litigating Evans v. Bowser to ensure that class members (former residents of Forest Haven) receive appropriate services and supports in the most integrated setting.
4. Provide outreach and education to administrative and policymaking bodies, advocates, and members of the community to promote self-determination, consumer choice, and high-quality services to maximize independent living options and placement in the most integrated and appropriate settings for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Provide individual representation to people with developmental disabilities so that they can manager their social security benefits without representative payees and to execute powers of attorney and advances directives, when necessary, to ensure their wishes are followed if they become unable to consent directly..
- Provide training and technical assistance to people with disabilities, family members, the probate court and the community about the right of people with developmental disabilities to make their own decisions and options for surrogate decision-making.
- Coordinate with advocacy groups and provide representation in select cases to improve guardianship practice in the D.C. probate court, encourage limited guardianships and prevent guardianships when sufficient alternatives exist.
5. Children with developmental disabilities will receive appropriate special education services in the least restrictive environment, appropriate behavioral support and appropriate secondary transition services in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) or in public charter schools
- Provide individual representation to children with developmental disabilities to be included, with appropriate modifications and accommodations, in the general education classroom.
- Provide individual representation to children with developmental disabilities who have behavioral challenges to receive appropriate special education services in DCPS and in public charter schools.
- Provide individual representation to transition-age students with developmental disabilities to obtain appropriate and quality secondary transition services from DCPS, public charter schools and adult-serving DC agencies.
- Conduct outreach and educate administrative and policymaking bodies, advocates and the community to promote the inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in DCPS and public charter schools in the least restrictive environment and educate parents and children about their rights under the IDEA.
- Conduct outreach and educate about the importance of quality inclusive secondary transition services from DCPS , public charter schools and adult-serving agencies and collaborate with community stakeholders to improve secondary transition services for transition-age youth with developmental disabilities.
CASE SELECTION CRITERIA
1. Cases related to the protection of the legal and human rights of individuals with developmental disabilities which fall within the aforementioned objectives; and
2. Cases in which the client is a resident of the District of Columbia.
While we recognize that every situation is important, please note that case acceptance is dependent upon available resources, including staff time. If your case is not accepted and you wish to file a grievance, please submit your grievance in writing to the Executive Director. Current clients may also submit a grievance to the Executive Director about the quality of ULS’ representation. A client may lodge an oral grievance with a ULS staff member who shall put the grievance in writing and submit it to the Executive Director. The Executive Director may be reached at:
Jane Brown, Executive Director
University Legal Services
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-0198 Phone
(202) 547-2662 Fax
(202) 547-2657 TTY
The Executive Director shall respond in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of a grievance from any client or prospective client, or community member who has an interest in the operation of the protection and advocacy program.
A grievant may appeal the Executive Director’s decision to the ULS Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director. The decision of the ULS Board of Directors shall be final and not subject to further appeal or review. Client confidentiality shall be maintained.
The Executive Director shall report grievances to the Board of Directors annually.