Information and referral
P&A staff provides information and answers questions about disability-related issues. This is done in person, over the telephone, or through other types of communication that accommodate individual needs. When appropriate, an individual is given information about other resources, including other advocacy organizations that may be able to give assistance. This service is available to anyone and does not require a determination of eligibility.
Various types of written materials are available and are provided in alternative formats upon request. P&A loans out its videos and publications from its resource library.
Assistance with self-advocacy
P&A provides advocacy skills development for groups of individuals seeking to advocate for themselves regarding disability issues.
Education and training
P&A staff conducts presentations to groups on disability-related issues. Topics include the role of P&A; abuse, neglect, and exploitation of individuals with disabilities; investigations process; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; employment rights of individuals with disabilities; workplace accommodations; legislative processes; voter education; and other disabilities rights issues.
P&A employs Disability Advocates across the State to represent eligible individuals with disabilities whose rights have been violated or who are being unlawfully denied access to services.
The Advocate may use various methods in representing an individual including writing letters on behalf of the person, making telephone and personal contacts, participating in team meetings with school personnel or other service providers, filing a formal complaint or grievance, and assisting with communications between the individual and his/her attorney.
P&A provides representation by a staff attorney or contracted legal counsel for administrative hearings or court proceedings. While there is no charge for these services, additional eligibility criteria are applied.
P&A receives reports of alleged abuse, neglect and exploitation of individuals with disabilities. If there is probable cause, P&A investigates (or has another entity investigate) the allegation. When appropriate, the P&A accesses protective services on behalf of the individual. Such services may include securing a guardian or conservator, assisting the individual with finding alternative living arrangements, or assisting the individual with identifying other service options. While P&A's authority to provide protective services focuses primarily on adults, protective services may also be provided to children with disabilities when Child Protective Services has determined that the situation or incident is not within their criteria.
A systems issue is a disability-related problem that affects a group of individuals similarly. Each year P&A prioritizes systems issues on which to focus its advocacy efforts.
P&A is active in disability-related legislation on the state and national level and assists individuals or groups with addressing issues on a local level.