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PAP
PADD Objectives & Priorities 2015

THE MISSION of the Protection and Advocacy program for individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) at University Legal Services (ULS) is to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded the full rights and entitlements accorded to them by the Constitution, local, and federal law. Among these rights are the right to self-determination, to be free from harm, to be afforded due process, to develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and to be included in community life with the opportunities and choices these rights imply.

The following are the priorities and objectives for the Protection and Advocacy Program for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities (PADD):

1. Promote full accessibility of public accommodations (private businesses open to the public), government-funded programs (including public schools and public charter school), and polling places for individuals with developmental disabilities.

  1. Represent individuals with developmental disabilities in need of access to public accommodations, government-funded programs and facilities and polling sites and engage in systemic advocacy to secure such access.

2. Investigate abuse and/or neglect complaints and address instances where there is probable cause to believe there may have been abuse or neglect.

  1. Conduct investigations of abuse or neglect of individuals with developmental disabilities in institutional settings, the community, or schools.

3. Advocate to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities have access to quality care, consumer choice, and services in the most integrated and appropriate setting through the Department on Disability Services (DDS), the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), and other appropriate District agencies.

  1. Represent individuals with developmental disabilities to obtain appropriate and necessary services, including integrated day and employment opportunities, from DDS, DHCF, and other appropriate District agencies.

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.

  1. Participate in meetings and conduct presentations for people with disabilities, community organizations, and governmental committees/working groups to ensure that they consider the importance of self-determination, consumer choice, and providing high-quality services to maximize independent living options in the most integrated and appropriate settings for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  1. Review and engage in public education regarding proposed policies, rules, or other proposals that might impact individuals with developmental disabilities,

5. Advocate to ensure that people with developmental disabilities have the opportunity and autonomy to make their own decisions and to have their choices recognized and respected.

  1. Conduct outreach and education and provide informational materials to individuals with developmental disabilities, attorneys, 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.
  2. Work with advocacy groups to improve guardianship practice in the District of Columbia to encourage limited guardianships and prevent guardianships when sufficient alternatives exist.
  3. Assist individuals with developmental disabilities to handle their benefits without representative payees and to execute powers of attorney and advanced directives, when necessary, to ensure that their wishes are followed if they become unable to provide consent directly.

6. Advocate for appropriate special education services in the least restrictive environment for children with developmental disabilities attending District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) or public charter schools.

  1. Represent children with developmental disabilities to be included with appropriate modifications and accommodations in the general education classroom.
  1. Represent children with developmental disabilities to receive appropriate special education services in DCPS or public charter schools.
  1. Represent transition-age students to obtain appropriate and quality secondary transition services from DCPS and public charter schools.

 

7. Provide outreach and education to administrative and policymaking bodies, advocates, and the community to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in public schools in the least restrictive environment and educate parents and children about their rights under the IDEA.

  1. Participate in meetings and conduct presentations for individuals with disabilities, family members, advocacy groups, governmental entities, and the community regarding the rights of children with developmental disabilities under the IDEA.
  1. Conduct outreach about ULS and required secondary transition services to transition-age students and their families in DCPS and public charter schools and collaborate with community stakeholders to improve secondary transition service for youth.

8. Continue to represent the plaintiffs in Evans v. Gray to ensure that class members receive appropriate services and supports.

  1. Pursue litigation strategies to protect the interests of class members, including evaluating and responding to court monitor reports, independently monitoring class members’ supports and services, and, if appropriate, preparing briefs and other documents for the Court and/or Special Master.

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.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

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.


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