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.
2. Investigate abuse and/or neglect complaints and address instances where there is probable cause to believe there may have been abuse or neglect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Continue to represent the plaintiffs in Evans v. Gray to ensure that class members receive appropriate services and supports.
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
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.