Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. There are 57 P&As in the United States and its territories, and each is independent of service-providing agencies in their states.
Along with the other Administration on Disabilities grantees, P&As are dedicated to the ongoing fight for the personal and civil rights of individuals with disabilities. P&As provide legal support to traditionally unserved or underserved populations to help them navigate the legal system to achieve resolution and encourage systems change. P&As ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to exercise their rights to make choices, contribute to society, and live independently.
While their focus is most often legal, P&As also engage in a range of other efforts to promote the rights of individuals with disabilities. They often provide information and referrals, as well as training and technical assistance to service providers, state legislators, and other policymakers. They also conduct self-advocacy training and raise public awareness of legal and social issues affecting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Working Toward Inclusive Education and Independent Living
P&As provide substantial advocacy and legal services on education issues, and work to ensure that students receive an appropriate education in an inclusive setting.
P&As have also made great strides in increasing the opportunities for individuals with disabilities to make decisions for themselves about where and with whom they live.
Olmstead and Other Cases
P&As have been involved in a significant number of landmark cases and work closely with other entities, especially State Councils on Developmental Disabilities and University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. P&As work to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities, and to ensure that they receive services in the most integrated setting possible.
ACL administers the four P&A programs described below.
- Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD)
Under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and the Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act), each state and territory has a protection and advocacy system (P&A) designated by the state’s governor. The DD Act and other authorizing statutes, give the P&A authority to advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities. The DD Act states that each P&A must have the authority to “pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies or approaches to ensure the protection of, and advocacy for, the rights of such individuals within the State." 42 U.S.C. 15043. P&As use a range of remedies to advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, including self-advocacy assistance, negotiation and litigation.
Under the DD Act, P&As also have the authority to investigate abuse and neglect in any setting where a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities receives services. With this authority, they may access and monitor both facilities and records to ensure that people’s rights are protected. P&A authorities are critical to exposing abuse and neglect of people will disabilities and safeguarding individuals’ right to live with dignity and self-determination.
PADD Outcome Data Tables
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 requires Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) grantees to report annually on progress achieved through advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change activities.
P&A Agencies, using their annual Program Performance Report (PPR), submit data to AIDD. The following tables provide select data for each state/territorial P&A as well as for the nation.
Report Title Year Clients Served 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Clients by Age 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Clients by Race and Ethnicity 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Clients’ Living Conditions 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Reasons for Closing Cases 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Intervention Strategies 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Problem Areas/Complaints of Clients Served 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Frequently Asked Questions: PADD Data Collection Methodology
What is a Protection and Advocacy System (P&As) and its functions?
Federally mandated in each 57 States and Territories; provide protection of the rights of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities through legally based advocacy. Its functions are to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become independent, productive, integrated, and included into their communities.
Who does the P&A serve?
A P&A provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities based on several factors: population, financial need, and need for services (discrimination against, denied services).
How can I contact a P&A?
There is a P&A System in each state and territory in the U.S. Find yours at the bottom of this page.
What are the qualifications to be an individual client?
You must meet three (3) criteria to be served by a P&A:
- An individual must be eligible for P&A program services. You must refer to the program specific authorizing legislation for eligibility criteria.
- The agency has opened a case file, which includes at least your name, address, age, race, disability, signed release of information form (if appropriate), the individual’s issues of concern, and the action taken by the agency.
- The agency provided at least one “significant service,” such as a supervised referral that allows follow-up to assure that the referral was appropriate and completed; or the provision of any allowable service beyond I&R services, as defined above.
What type of services does the P&A provide to a client?
The P&A serves short-term assistant, investigation/monitoring/technical assistant in self-advocacy, negotiation, mediation, litigation, and administrative hearings.
How does AIDD collect data from the P&As?
Every year all 57 P&A submit their annual program performance report to AIDD. Data from those reports are compiled and made available at AIDD. It provides a snapshot of P&A’s work in helping people with disabilities in each state and territories.
Does AIDD collect individual client’s data from the P&A?
No. AIDD does not collect individual client data from P&As and it is not client based data. Data is a summary of individual and group clients served by P&As in a given year.
What are the main components of the PPR reports from where this data is compiled?
The main components are:
- Summary data of clients served (by age groups, ethnicity, and racial backgrounds)
- P&A client living conditions
- Intervention strategies used in addressing client complaints
- Reason for closing individual’s case
- Outcome of P&A goals and objectives
What does AIDD do with this data once it is collected?
Besides providing a summary of achievements of P&As, the compiled data is used in AIDD’s bi-annual report to Congress and the President, reporting GPRA outcomes.
Other PADD Resources
- Proposed PADD Program Performance Report (DOCX, 135KB)
- NDRN Report on Community Integration and the Need for Monitoring and Advocacy
Report on two community monitoring and advocacy projects focusing on individuals transitioning to community settings.
- Segregated & Exploited
National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) found a total failure of the disability service system to provide quality work for people with disabilities. The report focuses on the problems with segregated work, sheltered environments and low wages, and highlights a massive breakdown between good federal and state policies and their implementation and oversight.
- Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT)
This program provides protection and advocacy services to assist individuals of all ages with disabilities in the acquisition, utilization, or maintenance of assistive technology services or devices. ACL provides formula grants to Protection and Advocacy agencies established under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.
Grantees provide information, advocacy, representation, training, technical assistance, and general guidance to increase access to and provision of assistive technology devices and services. The emphasis is on consumer advocacy and capacity-building through protection and advocacy agencies in the states.
The Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Program: Annual Report describes the activities of, and outcomes produced by, the PAAT Program during each fiscal year. It uses data collected through a Program Performance Report (PPR) form approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The most recent Annual Report will be posted when available.
- Protection & Advocacy for Voting Accessibility (PAVA)
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) programs are designed to establish and improve participation in the election process for individuals with the full range of disabilities. Signed into law on October 29, 2002, HAVA assigns responsibility for the administration of the law’s disability provisions (sections 261 and 291) to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who delegated the responsibility to the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Currently, funding is awarded to eligible Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) under section 291 as well as entities providing training and technical assistance to P&As. P&As provide assistance to state and other government entities by surveying polling places, identifying potential modifications to make specific polling places accessible, and developing criteria for identifying accessible polling places.
Ensuring Full Participation in the Electoral Process
In each eligible state and territory, P&As work to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in every step of the voting process. P&As educate individuals about voter registration and their legal rights pertaining to voting, provide voter registration opportunities, and help individuals access the polls on election day. Individuals interested in filing complaints may also be assisted and represented by the P&As.
Providing Training and Technical Assistance to Protection and Advocacy Systems
Eligible nonprofit organizations receive discretionary grants to assist P&As in developing proficiency in the use of voting systems and technologies for individuals with disabilities and demonstrating and evaluating the use of such systems and technologies. P&As also receive training and technical assistance for providing non-visual access in the voting process. Grants are authorized under section 291 of HAVA as a seven percent set-aside of the total appropriation for P&As. After receiving training and technical assistance, P&As may inform others on the availability of accessible voting equipment and its use.
- Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)
Individuals with TBI are often faced with improper diagnosis, inability to access support or rehabilitation services, institutional segregation, unemployment, and being forced to navigate complicated and cumbersome service and support systems.
The goals of the Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Program focus on helping state and local agencies develop resources so that all individuals with TBI and their families will have accessible, available, acceptable, and appropriate services and supports. The Protection and Advocacy TBI Grant Program is one way the Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Program advances these goals.
The P&A TBI program is a formula grant that provides funding for the 57 P&As in the U.S. and its territories as well as the Native American Protection and Advocacy Project to assess their State/Territory P&A Systems' responsiveness to TBI issues and provide advocacy support to individuals with TBI and their families.
Together, P&As comprise the nation's largest provider of legally based advocacy services for people with disabilities. P&As have the legal authority to:
- Investigate suspected abuse or neglect and seek justice for victims and their families;
- Have access to records and facilities necessary to investigate abuse or neglect or to monitor the treatment and safety of residents;
- Pursue litigation and all other appropriate remedies under federal, state, and local law;
- Provide information and referrals regarding entitlements to services and other legal rights; and/or
- Educate policymakers on needed reforms to disability-related laws and services
All P&As maintain a presence in facilities that care for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and other disabilities, where they monitor, investigate, and attempt to remedy adverse conditions and situations. They devote considerable resources to ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlement programs (e.g., Medicaid and Social Security), healthcare, accessible housing and productive employment opportunities, and they respond to allegations of abuse and neglect.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the voluntary membership association for the P&A and CAP agencies. As a network, the P&A and CAP agencies are the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States. NDRN’s mission is to promote the integrity and capacity of P&As by providing training and technical assistance and legal support to the P&A network.
- State P&A Technical Assistance
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Through training and technical assistance, legal support, and legislative advocacy, NDRN works to create a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equality of opportunity and are able to fully participate by exercising choice and self-determination.
Executive Director: Curtis Decker
The Training and Advocacy Support Center (TASC) is implemented under contract by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), which provides technical assistance to state P&As.
- Find your P&A Agency
Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program
The University of Alabama
P.O. Box 870395
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0395
State of Alabama Client Assistance Program
400 Union St
Montgomery, AL 36104
Disability Law Center of Alaska
3330 Arctic Boulevard, Suite 103
Anchorage, AK 99503
Arizona Center for Disability Law
177 North Church Ave, Suite 800
Tucson, Arizona 85701-1119
Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc.
400 W Capitol Ave, Suite 1200
Little Rock, AR 72201
Disability Rights California
1831 K St
Sacramento, CA 95811-4114
Phone: (916) 504-5800 | Toll-free: (800) 776-5746
Toll-free TTY: (800) 719-5798
Fax: (916) 488-9962
Web: www.disabilityrightsca.org | www.disabilityrightsca.org/espanol
Disability Law Colorado
455 Sherman St, Suite 130
Denver, CO 80203
Office of Protection & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
60-B Weston St
Hartford, CT 06120-1551
Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
Community Services Building, Suite 801
100 W 10th St
Wilmington, DE 19801
Client Assistance Program of United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware, Inc.
700A River Rd
Wilmington, DE 19809-2746
District Of Columbia
University Legal Services
220 I Street, NE, Suite 130
Washington, DC 20002
Disability Rights Florida
2473 Care Dr, Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc.
One Decatur Town Center
150 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Suite 430
Decatur, GA 30030
Georgia Client Assistance Program
123 N McDonough St
Decatur, GA 30030
Hawaii Disability Rights Center
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 2102
Honolulu, HI 96813
Disability Rights Idaho
4477 Emerald St, Suite B-100
Boise, ID 83706-2066
Equip for Equality, Inc.
20 N Michigan Ave, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602
Illinois Client Assistance Program
100 N First St, 1st Floor West
Springfield, IL 62702
Indiana Disability Rights
4701 N Keystone Ave, Suite 222
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Disability Rights Iowa
400 East Court Avenue, Suite 300
Des Moines, IA 50309
Assistive Technology Legal Project, Legal Clinic at U of Iowa
386 Boyd Law Building
Melrose & Byington Streets
Iowa City, IA 52242-1113
Phone: (319) 335-9023 | Fax: (319) 353-5445
Community Advocacy Services
Office of Persons with Disabilities
Lucas State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319
Disability Rights Center of Kansas
214 SW 6th Ave, Suite 100
Topeka, KS 66603
Kentucky Protection and Advocacy
5 Mill Creek Park
Frankfort, KY 40601
Client Assistance Program
275 E Main St, 2nd Floor
Mail Stop 2 E-K
Frankfort, KY 40621
8325 Oak St
New Orleans, LA 70118
Disability Rights Maine
24 Stone Street, Suite 204
Augusta, ME 04330
134 Main St, Suite 2C
Winthrop, ME 04364
Maryland Disability Law Center
The Walbert Building, Suite 400
1500 Union Ave, Suite 2000
Baltimore, MD 21211-1982
Client Assistance Program
Maryland State Dept of Ed, Div of Rehab Serv
2301 Argonne Dr
Baltimore, MD 21218-1696
Disability Law Center, Inc.
11 Beacon Street, Suite 925
Boston, MA 02108
Client Assistance Program
MA Office on Disability
One Ashburton Place, Room 1305
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 727-7440 | Toll Free: (800) 322-2020
Fax: (617) 727-0965
Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc.
4095 Legacy Parkway, Suite 500
Lansing, MI 48911
Minnesota Disability Law Center
430 First Ave, North, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1780
Disability Rights Mississippi
210 E Capitol St, Suite 600
Jackson, MS 39201
MS Society for Disabilities
P.O. Box 4958
Jackson, MS 39296
Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services
925 S Country Club Dr
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Disability Rights Montana
1022 Chestnut St
Helena, MT 59601
Disability Rights Nebraska
134 S 13th St, Suite 600
Lincoln, NE 68508
Client Assistance Program
301 Centennial Mall South, Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509
Nevada Disability Advocacy & Law Center
2820 W Charleston Blvd, Suite 11
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Disability Rights Center New Hampshire
64 N Main St, Suite 2, 3rd Floor
Concord, NH 03301-4913
Client Assistance Program
Governor’s Commission on Disability
121 S Fruit St, Ste 101
Concord, NH 03301
Disability Rights New Jersey
210 S Broad St, 3rd Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608
Disability Rights New Mexico
1720 Louisiana Blvd., NE, Suite 204
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Disability Rights New York
725 Broadway, Suite 450
Albany, NY 12207
Disability Rights North Carolina
3724 National Dr, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27612
Client Assistance Program
North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
2806 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2806
North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project
400 E Broadway, Suite 409
Bismarck, ND 58501
Disability Rights Ohio
50 W Broad St, Suite 1400
Columbus, OH 43215-5923
Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc.
2915 Classen Blvd, Suite 300
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Client Assistance Program
Office of Disability Concerns
2401 NW 23rd, Suite 90
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Disability Rights Oregon
610 SW Broadway, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97205
Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN)
301 Chestnut St, Suite 300
Harrisburg, PA 17101
PA Client Assistance Program
1515 Market St, Suite 1300
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Rhode Island Disability Law Center, Inc.
275 Westminster St, Suite 401
Providence, RI 02903-3434
Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.
3710 Landmark Dr, Suite 208
Columbia, SC 29204
Office of the Governor
Division of Ombudsman & Citizen Services
1205 Pendleton St
Columbia, SC 29211
Disability Rights South Dakota
221 S Central Ave, Ste 38
Pierre, SD 57501
Disability Rights Tennessee
2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217
Disability Rights Texas
2222 W Braker Ln
Austin, TX 78758
Disability Law Center
The Community Legal Center
205 North 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Vermont Protection and Advocacy, Inc.
141 Main St, Suite 7
Montpellier, VT 05602
Vermont Disability Law Project
57 N Main St, Suite 2
Rutland, VT 05701
disAbility Law Center of Virginia
1512 Willow Lawn Dr, Suite 100
Richmond, VA 23230
Disability Rights Washington
315 5th Ave S, Suite 850
Seattle, WA 98104
Client Assistance Program
2531 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
West Virginia Advocates, Inc.
Litton Bldg, 4th Floor
1207 Quarrier St
Charleston, WV 25301
Disability Rights Wisconsin
131 W Wilson St, Suite 700
Madison, WI 53703
Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Dr
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
Phone: (608) 224-5070 | Fax: (608) 224-5069
Wyoming Protection and Advocacy System, Inc.
7344 Stockman St
Cheyenne, WY 82009
Office of the Governor, Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities
Ombudsman for the Disabled
PO Box 41309
San Juan, PR 00940-1309
Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands
63 Estate Cane Carlton
Frederiksted, VI 00840
Client Assistance Program and Protection & Advocacy
P.O. Box 3937
Pago Pago, AS 96799
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc.
P.O Box 503529
Saipan, MP 96950-3529
Guam Legal Services
113 Bradley Pl
Hagatna, GU 96910-4911
Guam Client Assistance Program
UIU Building, Suite 2F
PO Box 23474
267 South Marine Corps Dr
GMF, GU 96921
Phone: (671) 646-4227 | Fax: (671) 649-4211
Native American Disability Law Center, Inc.
3535 E 30th St, Suite 201
Farmington, NM 87402