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.
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:
- capacity for independent living
- economic self-sufficiency
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.
Disability Rights DC has an internet listserve to share information about programs, events, and information related to children with disabilities and special education in the District of Columbia. If you would like to receive such information, you can subscribe by sending an email and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org
PADD Objectives and Priorities 2019
THE MISSION of Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (DRDC) 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):
Goal: Corrective action will be taken when people with developmental disabilities are subjected to abuse and neglect in institutional settings and schools and by District-funded providers so that they are free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violations of their legal and human rights.
a. Monitor CPEP, adult and youth inpatient facilities and community-based residential and day settings to identify and address instances of abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities.
b.Investigate allegations of individual and systemic abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities in institutions and schools and people with developmental disabilities receiving services from District-funded providers and advocate for appropriate corrective action.
Goal: People with developmental disabilities will receive quality supports, consumer choice, and services in the most integrated setting from the Department on Disability Services, the Department of Health Care Finance, the Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and other appropriate District agencies and programs.
a. Provide individual representation and group advocacy to people with developmental disabilities seeking appropriate and necessary supports in the most integrated setting from the Department on Disability Services (DDS), Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and other appropriate District agencies.
b. 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.
c. Educate and inform policymakers on proposed policies, rules, or other proposals that impact the right of people with developmental disabilities to receive quality supports in the most integrated setting and to have their choices respected.
Goal: People with developmental disabilities who need decision-making support will have access to such support in the least restrictive manner and will have their right to make their own decisions and choices recognized and respected.
a. Provide training, advocacy and technical assistance to people with disabilities, family members, and the community about the right of people with developmental disabilities to make their own decisions and options for surrogate decision-making and supported decision-making and coordinate with advocacy groups to advocate for alternatives to guardianship.
Goal: Children with developmental disabilities will receive appropriate special education services in the least restrictive environment, and appropriate behavioral support, and appropriate secondary transition services in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) or in public charter schools.
a. Advocate for special education services through individual representation of children with developmental disabilities, outreach and education of administrative and policymaking bodies and the community to promote the inclusion of children with developmental disabilities, with appropriate modifications and accommodations, in the general education classroom, and to educate parents and children about their rights under the IDEA.
b. Improve secondary transition services for transition-age youth with developmental disabilities through individual representation of these students to obtain appropriate and quality secondary transition services from DCPS, public charter schools, and adult-serving DC agencies and conducting outreach and education of administrative and policymaking bodies, the community, families, and students about their rights under the IDEA and the importance of quality inclusive secondary transition services.
Goal: Represent prospective class members in MJ v. District of Columbia to promote their rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Medicaid statute to intensive community-based mental health services in order that District youth with developmental disabilities and serious behavioral challenges can thrive in their community and are not institutionalized.
a. Litigate class members' claims in MJ v. District of Columbia and prepare and respond to motions filed by the defendants.
CASE SELECTION CRITERIA
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 DRDC’s representation. A client may lodge an oral grievance with a DRDC 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 Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director. The decision of the 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.
Learn more about Disability Rights DC
- Disability Rights DC - Client Assistance Program
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology
- Disability Rights DC - DC Jail and Prison Advocacy Project
- Disability Rights DC - Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury