North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project
Current Priorities & Resources
As encouraged by federal funding sources, and following input activities by people with disabilities, family members and the public, each year P&A chooses some of the most important issues affecting people with disabilities and makes them priorities. Nearly all P&A services (including information & referral, client assistance & representation, education & training, and systems advocacy) are then focused on these priority issues. P&A may accept non-priority cases for advocacy assistance, advocacy representation, or legal representation when the presenting issue is considered to be egregious and all other criteria have been met. Very limited resources will be available for non-priority cases. P&A's grievance procedure is available to individuals whose request for advocacy services has been turned down because the issue is not within existing priorities or for other reasons.
P&A's current priorities, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, include the following:
- Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation: Advocating for people with disabilities to be free from harm and mistreatment and to receive quality services, individualized to each person's needs - providing protective services when necessary and appropriate.
- Community Inclusion: Advocating for the rights of people with
disabilities to live and receive services in the least restrictive environment. This includes receiving necessary
supports to stay in one's own home. Areas of focus include:
- transition of residents from the Developmental Center and the State Hospital to the community;
- support to individuals who are currently living in the community who are at risk for institutionalization, including placement in private psychiatric settings, basic care, or long-term care;
- systems advocacy that seeks positive changes for people with disabilities in the area of least restrictive environment;
- advocacy for people with disabilities who have been denied equal access to activities, goods, buildings, facilities or services provided to the general public.
- Criminal Justice: Advocating for people with disabilities involved in the criminal justice system to obtain supports and services that meet their disability-related needs. A major focus in this area is education on the concept, formulation, and implementation of Individual Justice Plans.
- Education: Advocating for students with disabilities to receive
disability-related services consistent with state and federal laws. Areas of focus include:
- ensuring students receive multi-disciplinary evaluations, assessments, and identification of their disability; services identified in their Individual Education Plans; reasonable accommodations for disability-related needs; appropriate behavioral supports; appropriate transition from early intervention to school, and from school to work and independent living; and, appropriate assistive technology services or tools;
- supporting students, parents, and educators in becoming more effective advocates for students' rights;
- systems advocacy that seeks improvement and positive changes for students with disabilities.
- Employment: Advocating for persons with disabilities to have access to
meaningful employment at a fair wage. Areas of focus include:
- employment discrimination based on disability;
- reasonable accommodation in the workplace;
- provision of information and/or training regarding advocacy, vocational and support services and employment rights (including those under the Rehabilitation Act and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act), and the Client Assistance Program;
- protecting the rights of people with disabilities who are seeking or receiving treatment, services, or rehabilitation under the Rehabilitation Act;
- systems advocacy that seeks an increase in vocational services and employment options for people with disabilities.
- Healthcare: Advocating for adequate medical treatment, services, and
devices to meet people's disability-related needs. Areas of focus include:
- access to public and private healthcare benefits;
- adequate coverage for needed treatment, services, and devices;
- community education on Legislative changes regarding disability-related healthcare, including mental health parity.
- Voting: Advocating for a voting system that is accessible and provides equal opportunity for participation. Areas of focus include:
- educating voters with disabilities about accessible ways to vote, the voting process, and their voting rights;
- ensuring polling places are fully accessible;
- assisting and educating voters with disabilities regarding their rights to due process under the State-based administrative procedure required by the Help America Vote Act.
The General Resources page will provide you with access to lots of disability-related information as well as links to other organizations in North Dakota and out-of-state.