What DRNC does

Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, independent of state government and the disability service system. This structure keeps us free of conflicts of interest that would undermine our zealous advocacy on behalf of the human and legal rights of people with disabilities.

We are North Carolina’s federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency.

Disability Rights North Carolina advances and defends the rights of people with disabilities throughout North Carolina. We handle cases involving discrimination, abuse and other rights violations. Our attorneys, advocates and other staff provide, and support the provision of, free legal advocacy services to North Carolinians with disabilities.

Learn more about our areas of work. Support our work.

What It Means to be a P&A

The federal government mandates that every state have a Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system. We are the P&A for North Carolina. As a P&A, our responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that people with disabilities live in safe and humane conditions
  • Ensuring that people with disabilities are not unnecessarily institutionalized
  • Enforcing the rights of all North Carolinians with disabilities under federal and state law
  • Informing individuals about their legal rights and how to enforce them


To learn more about DRNC and our work, also read our Mission and History!


To achieve our goals, we use the following strategies:

Legal Representation
We take cases that have the potential to create systemic change and improve the lives of people with many disabilities.
Information, Referral, and Training
We make sure people with disabilities (or their families and advocates) know what their rights are and how to enforce those rights. We have resources on a wide range of topics on our Self-Advocacy Tools page.
We monitor facilities where people with disabilities live or receive services to prevent, detect, and address instances of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
When we believe serious abuse or neglect may have occurred, we conduct an in-depth investigation and, when necessary, report our findings to state regulatory agencies or law enforcement.
Public Policy Advocacy
We work to improve laws and regulations so they better serve people with disabilities, and we advocate for funding of public benefits programs to expand access to services for people with disabilities.