P&A Agency for Michigan
Disability Rights Michigan is formerly known as Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS).
DRM is part of the protection and advocacy (P&A) network and is the P&A agency for Michigan.
Federal law requires that there is a P&A agency, even if it goes by a different name, in every state and territory.
What is the P&A System
The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System and Client Assistance Program (CAP) include the nationwide network of legally based disability rights agencies. DRM is part of this network. P&A agencies have the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under federal laws, to all people with disabilities.
History of the P&A System
The Protection and Advocacy concept was initially triggered by a series of local television news broadcasts that Geraldo Rivera did for the ABC News affiliate in New York City in 1972. Rivera’s investigative reporting exposed abuse, neglect and lack of services and supports at Willowbrook, a state institution for people with intellectual and other disabilities on Staten Island. These broadcasts galvanized the state’s senior senator, Jacob Javits, to action, incorporating the first P&A program – Protection and Advocacy for People with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) – in 1975 in the renewal of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (DD) Act.
The DD Act provided for the governor of each state to designate an agency to be the P&A and to ensure that the P&A was, and would remain, independent of any service provider. The initial focus of PADD and subsequent P&A statutes was to safeguard the well-being of individuals living in institutions and this remains a major focus of P&A activity today.
What Services Do P&As Provide?
P&As continue to monitor, investigate and attempt to remedy adverse conditions in large and small, public and private, facilities that care for people with disabilities. P&As also assist persons with disabilities to find living arrangements that are the least restrictive possible; indeed, the P&As have been at the forefront of the de-institutionalization movement.
Over the years, the focus of P&A work was broadened to one that secures the rights of persons with all types of disabilities wherever they reside. P&A statutes were expanded to give the P&As additional authority so P&As now devote considerable resources to ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, accessible housing, transportation, and productive employment opportunities, as well as continuing to seek prevention of abuse and neglect.
What is the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). There is a P&A/CAP agency in every state and U.S. territory as well as one serving the Native American population in the four corners region. Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.