ADVOCACY PLAN 2013-2017
Advancing Dignity, Equality, Independence
and Freedom of Californians with Disabilities
Disability Rights California
California’s Protection & Advocacy System
Adopted by Disability Rights California’s Board of Directors
- Disability Rights California Vision Statement
- Disability Rights California Mission Statement
- What We Do
- Examples of Problems Disability Rights California Can Help With
- Whom We Help
- How to Get Help
- Strategic Goals
- Advocacy Principles, Priorities and Goals
- Impact Areas and Goals
- Community Integration
- Rights in Facilities/Abuse and Neglect
- Peer and Self-Advocacy
- Information, Training, Outreach and Publications
- Patients’ Rights Advocacy
- Clients’ Rights Advocacy
- APPENDIX A
California is at a crossroads. We can continue to lead actions to advance the equality, dignity, independence and freedom of Californians with disabilities. Or, we can return to a time when accessibility and inclusion were rare and abuse, neglect and segregation from mainstream society were commonplace.
In the 1970s and 80s, California was known as one of the few places in the world taking concrete steps to reduce architectural and attitudinal barriers facing people with disabilities. We enacted laws at the forefront of providing services, created building codes requiring access and protected people’s rights to autonomy and choice. We closed institutions and helped residents move into the community with innovative supports, including consumer-led services. In the late 20th and early 21st century, we were at the cutting edge of creating access to all technological advances.
Today, we face growing resistance to adequate home and community-based services to people who need them to avoid more expensive institutionalization. Investigations have revealed abuses and neglect in both state and community institutions. There has been a renewed effort to dismantle laws that guarantee people with disabilities access to businesses and public services. We are seeing attempts to erect new barriers to small group homes in neighborhoods.
These trends tell us we have to work more creatively to eliminate discrimination and stigmatizing attitudes faced by many Californians with disabilities. During the next five years, Disability Rights California will redouble its efforts to protect and advance the rights of Californians with disabilities. We will use all of our advocacy tools to ensure that people can live in barrier-free communities of their choice with the services they need to be successful; to stop abuse, no matter where or when it occurs; to increase employment opportunities with competitive wages; to maintain access to the businesses and services available to the general public and to provide up-to-date knowledge and tools so that people with disabilities can be equal, passionate and full participants in society.
We envision a barrier-free, inclusive, diverse world that values each individual and their voice. In this world, all people with disabilities enjoy the power of equal rights and opportunities, dignity, choice, independence and freedom from abuse, neglect and discrimination.
Advocate, educate, investigate and litigate to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities.
Our work will be guided by the following principles:
Stop discrimination, end institutionalization and increase community living choices
- Stop discrimination and work for equal opportunities.
- End institutionalization and increase access to culturally appropriate and safe community living with supports chosen by the person with a disability.
Eliminate abuse and neglect and improve quality of care
- Eliminate abuse and neglect.
- Improve the quality of care and treatment in facilities and protect rights, while working towards the goal of returning to the community.
Increase access to benefits, services and health care
- Increase and maintain access to government benefits.
- Increase and maintain access to public and private health programs.
- Increase and maintain access to effective, client-centered, voluntary community mental health services.
- Make sure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive Lanterman Act services based on their needs and choices.
Increase access to education, housing, transportation and employment
- Increase children’s and youth’s access to appropriate education services in the most integrated environment.
- Increase the rights of people with disabilities to have work opportunities consistent with their interests, abilities and needs.
- Increase the rights of people with disabilities to housing they can use and afford.
- Increase the availability of adequate, accessible transportation and remove transportation barriers.
Make sure the autonomy, preferences and choices of people with disabilities are respected
- Increase protections for the preferences, opinions, bodily integrity and privacy rights of individuals with disabilities.
- Promote the rights of people with disabilities to direct their own lives.
- Expand services and protections for parents with disabilities.
- Increase participation by people with disabilities on local and state policy-making bodies and boards.
- Make sure that voting systems and processes are accessible and barrier-free.
Increase Culturally Competent and Geographically Accessible Services
- Make sure that systems value disability, diversity, culture and each individual.
- Make sure that there is equal provision of services in all geographic areas.
- Make sure that there is access to courts, administrative agencies and legal services so that individuals with disabilities can defend and enforce their rights.
We strive to provide the type of advocacy that is most effective in addressing the issues that impact individuals with disabilities. We reach out to under-served populations and strive to provide culturally appropriate services statewide. Our services may include:
1. Telling people with disabilities about their many legal, civil and service rights.
2. Encouraging and supporting self-advocacy by educating individuals about their rights and providing the information and tools they need to act on their own behalf.
3. Investigating and, when appropriate, addressing reports of abuse and/or neglect.
4. Promoting policy changes that benefit many people with disabilities.
5. Providing legal assistance on disability related issues based on our priorities and case selection criteria.
6. Providing patients’ rights advocacy for state psychiatric hospital residents and technical assistance and training for county advocates.
7. Providing rights advocacy for clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are receiving services from regional centers.
8. Bringing impact litigation and acting as amicus curiae to defend disability rights.
Available resources may affect the kind of assistance we are able to provide.
Disability Rights California helps people with disabilities to solve disability-related problems. If you have a disability and qualify for services, DRC can help you with problems like:
- Rights to basic support, personal care, therapy and health care such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Medi-Cal
- Discrimination in housing, transportation, employment and access to public and private programs and services
- Abuse, neglect and rights violations in an institution
- Services and supports in the least restrictive environment, dignity, privacy, choice and other basic rights
- Special education rights
- Mental health and support services that provide individualized treatment
- Regional center eligibility and services
- Voting registration, vote casting and accessible polling places
- Access to technology – like communication devices and power wheelchairs
Disability Rights California Does Not Have the Resources to Help With the Following Types of Legal Issues:
- Direct representation in criminal law, family law, or bankruptcy courts or worker’s compensation proceedings
- Personal injury lawsuits
- Filling out Social Security application forms
- Obtaining guardianships or conservatorships
- Issues that are unrelated to an individual’s disability
- Issues outside of our Advocacy Plan Goals and Objectives
Disability Rights California provides advocacy help for Californians with disabilities. You could be eligible for DRC services on a disability related issue if:
- You have an intellectual and developmental disability
- You are a regional center consumer
- You have a mental health disability
- You are a resident of a state psychiatric hospital
- You have a physical, learning, or sensory disability
- You have a traumatic brain injury
- You need access to technology that you believe may help you live a fuller, more independent life
- You receive SSI or SSDI and need help with employment issues or keeping your benefits when you return to work
- You have questions about your right to vote
In deciding whether Disability Rights California can represent you directly, DRC will consider:
- The merits of your claim
- Your ability to advocate for yourself
- Other advocacy sources you could use
- Whether your problem falls within one of DRC’s priority areas
- Availability of DRC’s resources
If we decide that we can not help you and you disagree, you can file a grievance.
If you want additional information about your eligibility for services or a grievance you may call (800) 776-5746 or contact us by email at email@example.com.
To ask for Disability Rights California’s services, you may call:
Sacramento Regional Office
Fresno Satellite Office
Bay Area Regional Office
Los Angeles Regional Office
San Diego Regional Office
If you are a regional center client, you may ask for help from the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA).
Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy
If you are a resident at a state psychiatric hospital you may ask for help from the California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR).
California Office of Patients’ Rights
You may also access other advocacy services by contacting our Advocacy Unit.
Legislation and Public Information Unit (LPIU)
Peer and Self-Advocacy Unit
Developmental Disability Peer and Self-Advocacy Unit
Our Advocacy Services Will Have Impact
Expand awareness of our work, reach new audiences and enhance our reputation by using more innovative and effective user-friendly ways of communicating our messages and results.
Work across Disability Rights California’s programs, units and services to increase creativity and cohesion of how we describe and portray our work to the public and through the press.
Use diverse platforms to showcase and streamline access to DRC’s expertise, services and products, including:
- Website - Refresh and redesign to clarify our messages in graphics and text, simplify the electronic paths to our resources and results and develop an App so our website is available on mobile devices.
- Social Media - Expand the use of social media, including new technology, to convey DRC’s messages about priorities, events and our resources.
- YouTube - Experiment with short videos to dynamically capture DRC’s work and provide practical presentations about how to advocate for a specific outcome.
- Publications - Promote our publications as keys to success for self-advocacy, add FAQs as short versions of longer documents and expand diversity of modes, including audio versions.
Develop an Annual Rights Based Campaign that promotes change and unifies and focuses our work.
Public Policy Advocacy
Protect rights and promote systemic reform by sponsoring legislation, advocating on bills, initiatives and budget issues affecting Californians with disabilities.
Strengthen and increase the effectiveness of our coalition building activities with the disability rights movement and other civil rights, social justice and legal services groups.
Develop innovative ways to communicate the impact of our public policy efforts to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities in the legislature.
Outreach, Public Education and Training
Continue to educate and train persons with disabilities about services and their rights. A priority will be to make these services accessible to individuals with disabilities from underserved communities and provide them in a disability and culturally competent manner.
Develop innovative ways such as webinars, videos and self-help packets to offer trainings that convey practical information and take away messages.
We Will Provide Excellent Client Services
Combine proven methods with creative and innovative strategies to obtain effective results for our clients, balancing our individual and systemic advocacy efforts with the goal of advancing and defending rights and achieving systems change.
Employ new ways of providing intake and short-term advocacy assistance which will allows us to reach new client groups and use social media and other technology to make these services as effective and efficient as possible.
Clearly communicate what we can do and what we do not have the resources to do.
Ensure our technology is accessible to staff so they can provide effective client services.
Streamline our internal processes, including reporting, to make them as effective and efficient as possible so that our client services will have the biggest impact.
Our Board will reflect the diversity of California.
Continue to recruit and retain a diverse group of employees. As a disability advocacy organization in the most ethnically diverse state in the nation, Disability Rights California is committed to implementing the principles it advocates in its work place. These include employing a diverse staff, implementing model employment practices and involving diverse groups of staff in decision making throughout the organization.
Our staff are our most valuable resource. We will strive to provide competitive salaries, benefits and promotional opportunities for staff. We will applaud and promote the successes of our staff and work towards identifying other ways of acknowledging achievement.
Expand the recruitment and utilization of legal fellows.
To foster cohesiveness across Disability Rights California’s offices and units, we will enhance our internal communications to increase awareness of the work of other programs and make our internal webpage more user-friendly.
We will support Disability Rights California’s employees in realizing their full potential, enhancing the services they provide and ensuring the continuity of DRC services. We will achieve this by expanding our mentoring and internal training opportunities, including more effective use of technology and teaming with other advocacy organizations.
Diverse and Sustainable Funding
Work to maintain and expand our core funding.
Obtain the services of a Development Director.
Increase donations to Disability Rights California from the disability community, clients, the public and law firms and make it easier to donate on our webpage.
Identify and apply for other grant opportunities which are consistent with Disability Rights California’s mission and will allow DRC to sustain or expand its services.
Our advocacy will be zealous, dedicated, effective, creative, innovative and daring.
We will take on issues of importance to the disability community even when the outcome is uncertain.
We will integrate a variety of advocacy approaches in all of our work, including self-advocacy, legal, non-legal, media, public policy, legislative and investigatory.
We value diversity. Our staff should reflect the ethnic, language, disability and demographic diversity of California: rural, age, sexual orientation, a range of different life experiences that reflect the disability community.
Our advocacy efforts will affirmatively address the needs of traditionally underserved and under-represented communities through partnership with such communities.
Our advocacy will be of high quality regardless of the type of service, the nature of the problem or who the client is. We will be honest, prepared, truthful and informed.
All staff is expected to contribute and their contributions will be valued and respected.
When representing individuals:
- We will do what the client wants – not what we or others think is best.
- We will be honest about our limitations, values, resources and the likely outcome.
- The client chooses the outcome and the method of achieving the outcome and the client’s choices will be treated with respect.
- The client actively participates in every stage of the process.
Disability Rights California has identified the following areas in which we plan to have positive impact over the next five-year period:
Rights in Facilities/Abuse and Neglect
Peer and Self-Advocacy
The following pages include a vision statement, five year goals and specific objectives we plan to achieve over the next year for each impact area.
We have also identified specific one-year objectives for providing information, training, outreach, materials and publications.
In addition, you will find general information about the services provided by our Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy and California Office of Patients’ Rights.
Vision: We envision a world where people with disabilities have the same human and civil rights as others, full access to all of society and can participate fully in electoral and governmental systems. The world will no longer have physical access barriers or stigmatizing attitudes toward people with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations to enable people with disabilities to participate fully.
1. Improve disability access and reduce discrimination in private, public and government programs and services so that all people with disabilities are able to use them effectively.
a. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, eliminate access barriers and discrimination and improve access to technology and assistive technology in places of public accommodations and businesses and in government programs, such as benefit offices, services and websites. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, EA, Trust Fund)
b. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, improve access to transportation in areas such as sidewalk access, bus stops and paratransit. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT)
2. Increase and maintain affordable, accessible housing.
a. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, reduce housing discrimination in private housing, in a variety of continuum of care housing types and in homeless and transitional housing settings; ensure that licensing restrictions in housing do not inhibit community living; and ensure that laws and regulations against housing discrimination effectively address the needs of people with disabilities. This work includes our continuing litigation such as Doe v. San Diego Rescue Mission and other housing discrimination cases. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, EA, Trust Fund, Unrestricted)
b. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, reduce discrimination in local government planning and regulation of housing and land use and improve local government planning for affordable, accessible housing and a variety of living arrangements, for example, by continuing to litigate Independent Living Center et al v. City of Los Angeles et al. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PATBI, EA, Trust Fund)
c. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, expand the availability of public and subsidized housing programs for people with disabilities, by reducing discrimination and expanding accommodations in the programs, requiring more accessible units, expanding the use of the programs for people with disabilities and advocating for the development of permanent affordable, accessible housing fund sources. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, EA, Trust Fund)
d. Develop a policy paper on “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) attitudes in siting of housing (CalMHSA)
3. Preserve disability civil rights laws, including the ADA and the Unruh Act.
a. Develop and begin to implement a strategy for addressing attacks on disability discrimination laws and/or addressing effective implementation of physical accessibility requirements. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
4. Address disparities in access to services and supports from regional centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from language and ethnic-distinct communities.
a. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, advocate for regional centers to provide IPPs, notices, services and supports in languages that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families understand. (PADD, EA)
b. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, (i) document and reduce disparities in the provision of regional center services and supports to consumers from language and ethnic distinct communities, (ii) address purchase of service disparities and (iii) monitor data on service disparities required by new state legislation. (PADD, EA)
5. Make sure voting systems and election processes are accessible and barrier-free and increase the numbers of people with disabilities who vote.
a. Work with the Secretary of State, legislators, county election officials, and county Voter Accessibility Advisory Committees to maximize input from and voting and civic engagement by people with disabilities; and address systemic issues such as (i) polling place and voting system accessibility, (ii) outreach to individuals with disabilities, (iii) official voting guide content and website accessibility and (iv) regional center compliance with requirements in the National Voter Registration Act to provide registration materials to individuals with disabilities. (PAVA, PAAT)
b. Host an election hotline to foster communication and report problems faced by voters and provide technical assistance to the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights Election Protection hotline attorneys. (PAVA)
6. Enforce rights by ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to courts, administrative agencies and legal services.
a. Respond to proposed constraints on access through amicus briefs or regulatory comments as needed. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, Trust Fund)
Vision: We envision a world where people with disabilities can passionately live life to the fullest and on their own terms in communities of their choice. People will not live in institutions and will have what they need to live, work and play as they want.
1. Advocate to transition people out of facilities to the community consistent with the principles of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.
a. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, such as monitoring of the settlement in Capitol People First v. DDS, ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live in the least restrictive environment including enabling people to transition from developmental centers and other facilities to the community. (PADD, PAAT, EA, Trust Fund)
b. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities including those with other co-occurring disabilities, live in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their needs and are able to transition from nursing facilities, board and care facilities, state hospitals and institutions for mental diseases into the community. (PAIMI, EA)
c. Conduct systemic advocacy to ensure that people with mobility and other physical and sensory disability needs live in the least restrictive environment, including providing legal analysis regarding improved nursing transitions and nursing facility waivers. (PAIR)
d. Monitor implementation of the settlement in Chambers v. City and County of San Francisco. (PAIR, PAIMI, PADD, PAAT, Unrestricted)
2. Ensure that people with disabilities have access to a full range of community services and supports to enable them to live in the community and avoid institutionalization, consistent with the principles of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.
a. Through direct representation and/or systemic advocacy, ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities have access to a full range of community mental health services and supports as counties assume greater responsibility for Medi-Cal-funded services under mental health “realignment” and as the Medi-Cal program itself moves towards managed care. (PAIMI, PATBI, EA)
b. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have access to Lanterman Act services, especially services such as supported living that enable people to remain in the community. (PADD, EA)
c. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, ensure that people with disabilities have access to essential health care services, including continuing to litigate cases to secure Medi-Cal funded shift nursing for youth aging out of the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment program. (PADD, PAIR, PAAT, EA).
d. Through direct representation, ensure that people with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits maintain access to those benefits to allow them to remain in the community. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, EA)
e. Continue litigation and direct representation to protect existing long-term care services, such as In-Home Supportive Services, Community Based Adult Services and in-home nursing including continued litigation of Oster v. Lightbourne and Darling v. Douglas. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, EA, Trust Fund, Unrestricted)
f. Develop a policy paper on the provision of recovery-oriented hospital diversion and aftercare services. (CalMHSA)
3. As Managed Care Organizations assume more responsibility for Medicaid-funded services, ensure that they continue to provide full access to essential health care benefits to people with disabilities.
a. Conduct systemic advocacy to ensure that efforts to integrate the financing, coordination or delivery of long-term services and supports are done in a way that ensures that consumers receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
b. Conduct direct representation or systemic advocacy to oppose the denial of Medi-Cal benefits and due process protections by managed care organizations. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
Vision: We envision a world where people with disabilities have the opportunity to engage in integrated employment with competitive wages and benefits. People with disabilities will receive the supports and reasonable accommodations they need to enable them to enter and remain in the workforce.
1. Address discrimination, enforce discrimination laws and increase access to integrated competitive employment.
a. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, advocate for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to engage in integrated competitive employment. (PADD, PABSS, EA)
b. Through direct representation or systemic advocacy, advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to be free from discrimination in the workplace and other discriminatory barriers to employment, including their right to receive reasonable accommodations. (PABSS, PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
2. Advocate for the rights of individuals seeking and receiving Rehabilitation Act funded services
a. Directly represent individuals in enforcing their rights to receive services from the Department of Rehabilitation and other Rehabilitation Act funded organizations. (CAP)
b. Work with the Department of Rehabilitation and other Rehabilitation Act funded service providers to ensure that the system will maximize benefits to the largest number of clients participating in those programs. (CAP)
3. Advocate for the successful employment and removal of barriers to employment for people receiving Social Security Benefits.
a. Directly represent beneficiaries of Social Security on issues such as work incentives, barriers to employment and problems with representative payees, including in negotiations, mediations, or administrative proceedings. (PABSS)
Vision: We envision a world where people with disabilities are not abused, neglected or forcibly medicated. People with disabilities who reside in facilities will have the services they need to lead fulfilling lives and enable them to transition into the community.
1. Reduce criminal victimization and serious and life-threatening injuries caused by abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in facilities.
a. Conduct select investigations and make recommendations regarding corrective action to prevent likelihood of abuse, neglect or criminal victimization. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, Trust Fund)
b. Conduct representative payee site reviews. (Unrestricted)
c. Issue a follow-up report on excessive and unregulated use of behavioral restraint in California schools. (PADD, PAIMI, Trust Fund)
d. Issue an advisory on patient directed Physician’s Order for Life-sustaining Treatment. (PAIR, Trust Fund)
2. Improve the response and involvement of agencies in the abuse response, oversight and criminal justice systems to reported criminal victimization, abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.
a. Conduct select investigations into adequacy and timeliness of responsible entities, including law enforcement, licensing, criminal justice, regional centers, developmental centers, and other protective services agencies to incidents of abuse, neglect and criminal victimization of people with disabilities. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, Trust Fund)
b. Survey law enforcement agencies regarding officer training in de-escalation. (CalMHSA)
c. Issue a report regarding the responsiveness of licensing to substantiated complaints of abuse perpetrated by certified nurse assistants. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, Trust Fund)
d. Facilitate development of collaborative room and board coalitions in select California counties. (PADD, PAIMI, Trust Fund)
3. Improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in institutions, by protecting their rights and ensuring that they have effective, client-centered, culturally competent services that will help their transition into the community.
a. Provide direct representation and/or systemic advocacy on select patients’ rights issues, including conducting a legal clinic at Napa State Hospital and addressing the denial of effective hearing aids and other assistive technology to residents. (PAIMI, PAAT)
b. Through direct representation, enforce the rights of individuals in county jails to receive appropriate services and accommodations, including continuing to litigate Johnson v. County of Los Angeles and Hall v. Mims. (PAIMI, PATBI, PAAT, PAIR, EA)
c. Develop a policy paper that will evaluate the causes and consequences of delays in appropriate placement of individuals found incompetent to stand trial. (CalMHSA)
4. Reduce or eliminate use of forced treatment of mental health clients
a. Provide legal analysis of county proposals for involuntary outpatient commitment. (PAIMI)
b. Provide direct representation or amicus assistance regarding systemic issues involving the rights of individuals under conservatorships and forensic commitments (especially those found not guilty by reason of insanity) to refuse medication. (PAIMI)
Vision: We envision a world in which children and young adults with disabilities have equal access to education and related services and receive the coordinated community based care and supports they need to allow them to successfully transition to employment, higher education, or other meaningful, community options.
1. Ensure that schools, mental health agencies and regional centers provide care coordination and connect students with community based and other resources for which they are eligible, including integrated mental health services.
a. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, advocate for implementation of the provision of the IDEA requiring school districts to coordinate related mental health services. (PAIMI, EA)
b. Continue implementation of the settlement in Katie A. v. Bonta and wraparound services, which require care coordination through Medi-Cal for foster children (PAIMI, PADD, EA, Trust Fund)
2. Ensure that schools, regional centers and the Department of Rehabilitation provide adequate, outcome-driven transition services to youth and young adults with disabilities.
a. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, improve regional center services for transition age youth, including monitoring post-secondary education outcomes for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, developing information and training for families and schools and expanding higher education and other meaningful options for them. (PADD, EA)
b. Through systemic advocacy, collaborate with the Department of Rehabilitation to improve outcomes for youth transitioning to higher education or employment. (PADD, PAIMI, CAP)
c. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, advocate for school districts to be required to provide appropriate transition planning and services. (EA, PADD, PAIMI)
3. Ensure that criminalization, segregation, “push-out,” punitive measures and restraints and seclusion are not used as a substitute for meeting children’s needs for positive behavior intervention, academic and related services, mental health services and social skills training.
a. Through systemic advocacy, legal analysis and direct representation, preserve and enforce provisions for behavior intervention plans and advocate against inappropriate behavior interventions. (PAIMI, PADD, EA, CalMHSA)
b. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, develop a strategy to address the “school to prison pipeline,” including identifying and targeting schools that “push-out” students with behavior problems into the delinquency system. (PAIMI, PADD, EA)
c. Continue to monitor settlement in IT v. Los Angeles County Probation Department regarding the identification of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their access to appropriate services and placement. (PADD, EA)
4. Ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to education and related services.
a. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, ensure that students with disabilities have access to education and related services in the least restrictive environment and are not excluded from otherwise appropriate educational programs, including continuing to monitor/litigate Chanda Smith v LAUSD. (PADD, EA, Unrestricted)
b. Through direct representation and systemic advocacy, oppose segregated public school sites and continuation schools as individual education program placements. (PADD, PAIMI, EA)
c. Through systemic advocacy or direct representation, address discrimination by charter schools, which refuse to admit or expel students with disabilities or refuse to provide appropriate supports and accessibility. (EA, PADD, PAIMI)
Vision: We envision a world where people with disabilities have the skills and knowledge to advocate and speak for themselves. The world will recognize that people with disabilities have a wealth of experience and knowledge and are capable of sharing this knowledge with each other so that all people with disabilities become effective self advocates.
1. Improve the self-advocacy skills of people with disabilities so they can advocate for themselves and have independent productive quality lives of their choosing in the community.
Peer and Self-Advocacy Objectives
a. Through ongoing self-advocacy groups, train people with psychiatric disabilities on topics of their choice. (PAIMI)
b. Through workshops, material development and outreach for people with psychiatric disabilities, their family members, advocates, service providers and other relevant groups of people ensure that people have the information they need to self advocate. (PAVA, PAIMI, CalMHSA)
Developmental Disabilities Peer and Self-Advocacy Objectives
a. Through direct representation, provide peer and self-advocacy services in order to improve access to regional center services and help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities move out of institutions. (PADD)
b. Through training, material development and outreach for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as their family members, advocates, service providers and other relevant groups of people ensure that people have the information they need to self advocate. (PADD, PAVA)
Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Objective
a. Provide outreach and training to people with intellectual and developmental and mental health disabilities as well as their families, service providers and employers on the employment rights and return to work services available to people with disabilities. (CALMHSA)
2. Work to transform systems and eliminate barriers, so people with disabilities are heard, respected and valued.
Peer and Self-Advocacy Objectives
See Community Integration Goal 1, Objective b; Goal 2, Objective a; and Rights in Facilities/Abuse and Neglect Goal 3, Objective a (PAIMI)
Developmental Disabilities Peer and Self-Advocacy Objectives
a. Develop in collaboration with advocacy partners a strategy to increase access to integrated work options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (PADD)
b. Through work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities identify barriers and develop strategies to address the reluctance of regional center clients to pursue appeals or due process when they believe their service rights have been improperly reduced or denied or rights violations have occurred. (PADD)
California Memorial Project Objective
a. Through collaboration with stakeholder groups and community partners, develop the capacity for the California Memorial Project, its objectives and activities to be an independent and sustainable community effort. (PADD, PAIMI)
Vision: We envision a world in which people with disabilities are fully informed about their rights and available resources. They will have access to training and informative materials in a variety of formats and languages.
1. Counsel and Advice: Regional office staff will provide counsel and advice to people with disabilities as well as their advocates, family members and/or other relevant groups of people on disability related legal issues.
a. Provide counsel and advice on at least 5,000 service requests. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PATBI, PAVA, PAAT, CAP, EA, Trust Fund)
2. Publications: Disability Rights California will develop, or revise and distribute publications and/or training materials to people with disabilities, their family members, advocates, service providers and/or other relevant groups of people. Examples include the following:
a. Develop at least five fact sheets to address discrimination against people with psychiatric disabilities (CalMHSA)
b. Develop an anti-discrimination fact sheet to work with staff at Napa State Hospital to discuss the rights of residents to mental health treatment. (PAIMI)
c. Develop a fact sheet about the voting rights of individuals with disabilities. (PAVA)
a. Develop a fact sheet about living arrangements for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have challenging service needs. (PADD)
b. Develop a fact sheet on access to community living for people with co-occurring mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities. (PADD, PAIMI)
c. Develop a fact sheet on the Medi-Cal transition to managed care. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
a. Develop at least three fact sheets on employment issues for people with psychiatric disabilities. (CalMHSA)
a. Update the Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Manual regarding bullying as well as the coordination of care among school districts, mental health agencies and regional centers; transition services for students with mental illness. (PADD, PAIMI)
b. Develop a fact sheet regarding Katie A/wraparound related mental health services for students. (PADD, PAIMI)
c. Develop a publication about how to get good transition planning that includes issues such as independent living, voting, driving, services, education and employment. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
d. Develop a fact sheet regarding the transfer of parental rights so that students and parents are prepared for transition. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
e. Develop a self-help packet or fact sheets for students who are being bullied. (PADD, PAIMI)
f. Develop a fact sheet regarding reducing the number of children and youth confined in juvenile hall facilities awaiting mental health placement by advocating for home and community-based mental health services. (PAIMI)
3. Outreach and Training: Disability Rights California will provide training and/or outreach to people with disabilities, their family members, advocates, service providers and/or other relevant groups of people on disability related legal issues. Examples include the following:
a. Ensure that the National Voting Registration Act is complied with and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are registered and able to vote by training regional centers, DDS and consumer groups and by distributing voter registration forms at outreaches. (PAVA, PADD)
b. Provide trainings about civic engagement and voting. (PAVA)
c. Develop training modules and conduct trainings on stigma and discrimination in housing against people with psychiatric disabilities. (CalMHSA)
a. Provide trainings to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who reside in facilities about their rights to transition to the community. (PADD)
b. Provide trainings to judges and public defenders about least restrictive living options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and new community living options. (PADD)
c. Provide training to public defenders with respect to mental health issues, including conservatorship issues and interacting with clients with mental health issues. (PAIMI)
a. Provide training for transition age youth on the Lanterman Act. (PADD)
b. Provide training to consumers, families, independent living service providers, supported living service providers, transition teachers and regional center staff about work incentives, ticket to work and reporting wages. (PADD)
c. Conduct outreaches and trainings to clients and potential clients of Rehabilitation Act funded agencies, community partners and the public information about CAP services and Rights under Title I of the ADA. (CAP)
Rights in Facilities/Abuse and Neglect
a. Conduct outreach and training on trauma-informed and appropriate mental health services at nursing facilities, IMDs and state hospitals. (PAIMI)
a. Conduct trainings to school districts, stakeholders, advocates and families on the obligation of school districts to coordinate related mental health services. (PAIMI, EA)
b. Conduct outreaches and trainings to school districts on their obligation to prevent bullying of students with disabilities. (PADD, PAIMI, EA)
c. Conduct trainings for schools, courts and public defenders on the rights of students with behavioral challenges to appropriate treatment. (PAIMI, EA)
d. Conduct training to public defenders, district attorneys and judges regarding the rights of children and youth confined in juvenile hall facilities to home and community based mental health treatment. (PAIMI, EA)
e. Conduct training to ensure that children with mental health and other disabilities are not bullied or intimidated in schools or in the community, including addressing behavioral needs of children who bully. (EA)
f. Conduct training on stigma and discrimination in educational settings against children and youth with psychiatric disabilities. (CalMHSA)
People with psychiatric disabilities are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Their rights may be unreasonably and unlawfully denied. A patients’ rights advocacy system that is independent of the service providers will help eliminate abuse, neglect and denial of rights and expand access to timely, appropriate and culturally competent treatment and services.
1. Protect and enforce the rights of people in state hospitals.
2. Provide access to an effective patients’ rights complaint process by investigating and taking action to resolve state hospital residents’ complaints. Also take action to resolve abuse, unreasonable denial of rights and punitive withholding of rights that cannot be resolved by the county patients’ rights advocates. Make sure the patients’ rights advocacy system is accessible to patients.
3. Support county patients’ rights advocates by providing information, training and reviews of their programs.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by the 21 regional centers are vulnerable to abuse and neglect and their rights are often not observed or protected. A clients’ rights advocacy system that is independent of the service providers will help eliminate abuse, neglect and denial of rights and expand access to the services and supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need to live independent and productive lives.
1. Protect the rights of regional center consumers and help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities pursue administrative and legal remedies.
2. Investigate and resolve complaints of abuse, unreasonable denial of rights and punitive withholding of rights guaranteed by the Lanterman Act to residents with disabilities in licensed health and community care facilities.
3. Provide information, referrals and training for regional center consumers and their families.
Disability Rights California receives funds from federal and state agencies, the State Bar of California, foundations and private donations.
Here is information to help you understand the titles of the federal grants and state funds identified in the Goals and Objectives:
PADD: In 1978, Disability Rights California became the agency in California responsible for protecting and advocating for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities under the federal Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1978 (PADD).
PAIMI: The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 (PAIMI) extended Disability Rights California’s mandate to people with psychiatric disabilities.
PAIR: The Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights Act of 1992 (PAIR) extended Disability Rights California’s mandate to people with physical, learning and sensory disabilities.
PAAT: Beginning in 1998, Disability Rights California received limited funds under the Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) Act to increase access to assistive devices and equipment.
PATBI: Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) assures that people with traumatic brain injury receive appropriate services and supports within their own communities. Disability Rights California promotes the rights of people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) through advocacy assistance, education and outreach to build TBI community awareness and support for inclusion. This program was established by federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.
PAVA: Part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) was the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program. PAVA expanded Disability Rights California's ability to work for full participation in the electoral process for people with disabilities, including registering to vote, casting a vote and accessing polling places.
Equal Access (EA): Disability Rights California receives funds from the State Bar under the Equal Access to Justice Project to provide services to indigent Californians with disabilities.
IOLTA: We receive support from the State Bar of California's Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) program, which funds legal services for low-income people around California.
CAP: Disability Rights California receives funds under a contract with the State Department of Rehabilitation to provide services under the Client Assistance Program (CAP), a federal program that provides information and assistance to individuals seeking or receiving services under the Rehabilitation Act, including assistance in pursuing administrative, legal and other appropriate remedies to ensure the protection of their rights.
CalMHSA: Disability Rights California receives funds from the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) for a stigma and discrimination reducing project.
Sonoma County: Disability Rights California’s Peer and Self-Advocacy program receives Mental Health Services Act funding from the County of Sonoma to provide peer and self-advocacy services in that County.
Disability Rights California also provides services under contracts with the California Department of Rehabilitation (Client Assistance Program, “CAP”), the Department of State Hospitals (California Office of Patients’ Rights, “COPR”) and with the Department of Developmental Services (Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy, “OCRA”). COPR’s and OCRA’s work is not covered in the priorities discussed in this do