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Protection & Advocacy For Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) is a program authorized by federal law to help District of Columbia residents with developmental disabilities exercise their full rights as citizens.

PADD is not a state agency and is independent of all other agencies that provide developmental disabilities services.

University Legal Services (ULS) is the designated protection and advocacy agency for the District of Columbia, established under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42. U.S.C. Section 6000 et.seq.

  • ULS-PADD's Services

  • ULS-PADD advocates the rights of people with developmental disabilities regardless of age, race, sex, religion, or other factors.

    ULS-PADD has the authority to seek legal, administrative, and other remedies for problems. PADD provides one or more of the following services:

  • Information about basic legal and human rights
  • Information and referral to appropriate services
  • Representation by a professional advocate at meetings and administrative proceedings
  • Training, information, and publications on the rights of persons with developmental      disabilities
  • Consultation and research by legal staff and advocates
  • Legal representation by a staff attorney

  • ULS-PADD can provide information and assistance at the request of the developmentally disabled person, family member, social worker, agency representative, or any other interested person.

    All inquiries and services are regarded as confidential and will not be shared outside the agency without client approval or without client approval or without legal authority.

  • What is a Developmental Disability?

  • A developmental disability is a severe, chronic condition which:

  • Is caused by a mental or physical impairment or combination of impairments
  • Appears before the age of 22
  • Is likely to continue indefinetely
  • Reflects a need for long-term, individual services
  • Results in substantial functional limitation in three or more of the following areas:
  • self-care
  • language
  • learning
  • mobility
  • self-direction
  • capacity for independent living
  • economic self-sufficiency

  • Know Your Rights!

  • All citizens of the United States have the same basic rights under the Constitution, including:

  • Right to free speech
  • Right to freedom of association
  • Right to religious preference
  • Right to individual dignity
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to vote
  • Right to due process of law
  • Right to equal protection under law
  • Freedom from unlawful search and seizure
  • Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment

  • The Constitution states that all persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. These include the right to a clean and healthful environment, the right to pursue life's basic necessities, the right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties, the right to acquire, possess, and protect property, and the right to seek safety, health, and happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons must recognize corresponding responsibilities.

    People with developmental disabilities are given further rights by state and federal law. Every person with a developmental disability has a right to the following:

    PADD services are available statewide. Staff members travel throughout the state to provide assistance and representation when needed.

    To request ULS-PADD assistance for yourself or someone you know, call (202) 547-0198 or 877-221-4638, statewide.

    A ULS-PADD staff attorney or advocate will talk with you to get an understanding of your concerns. Problems can often be resolved over the telephone

  • Limitations of Service

  • Advocacy services are limited to rights violations directly related to the person's disability.

    Requests for assistance are assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with annual program priorities. Because ULS-PADD strives to provide quality representation to each client, there may be times when ULS-PADD is unable to take your case because of limited agency resources


    ULS-PADD makes every effort to provide effective rights-related advocacy for meritorious cases. However, if any individual is not satisfied with ULS-PADD's actions, he or she has the right to bring a complaint to the Executive Director of ULS. A copy of the agency's greivance policy is available. This policy tells what must be done to file a complaint.

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