Your questions, answered
Have a question that isn’t listed here? Contact us!
What are my rights?
To learn more about your rights, you can visit our self-advocacy page. We have fact sheets, guides, and videos to explain the laws that protect people with disabilities. You will also find sample letters, and tips and ideas for advocating. All information is organized by topic. If you need an accommodation or help finding information about a particular topic, you can also call or email us.
Who does DRNC help?
Our services are free of charge to all residents of NC with a disability. We can also provide information and technical assistance to family members and professionals advocating for North Carolinians with disabilities.
How can I get help?
What can DRNC help me with?
DRNC can help you protect your right to:
- Live in the community of your choice
- Have equal access to services, employment, housing and education in that community
- Live an independent and integrated life
- Be free to make choices about how you live
- Be safe in your community (including prevention of abuse and neglect in institutions and facilities)
- Prepare for and recover from natural disasters
What kinds of help does DRNC provide?
We offer many types of services to help you protect your rights, including information and referral, assistance with self-advocacy, legal advice, trainings, and individual legal representation. Check out our list of services to see all the different ways we protect and advocate for your rights.
What is a Protection and Advocacy Agency (P&A)?
Every state has a P&A that is dedicated to protecting the rights of children and adults with disabilities. DRNC is the P&A for North Carolina. Our job is to make sure that people in the community, and in state agencies and institutions, are following the laws that protect people with disabilities. We monitor facilities to keep you safe. We also work to make sure that you can live inclusive and independent lives in the community of your choice. DRNC is not a government agency and we have full Access Authority.
What is Access Authority?
Our access authority sets us apart from all other legal agencies. It means that we have permission to enter any place or setting that provides services, care and treatment to people with disabilities. We can show up unannounced, talk to you about your concerns and experiences, and educate you about your rights. We can investigate allegations of abuse, we can check to make sure you are safe. The locations we can visit include, but are not limited to, schools, group homes, day programs, adult care homes, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment facilities. Our access authority applies to state-run and privately owned settings.
What do you mean by Target Areas of Work?
Our Targets are the goals that drive our legal work. Every year, we get information from you to make sure we are addressing the needs in our state:
- We review the calls we have received to determine which problems impact you the most. (This is why it is so important for you to call us with your concerns!)
- We also conduct an annual statewide survey to get input from people with disabilities and their family members and advocates.
Once we finalize this list of goals, or Targets, and our board of directors approves them, we use the Targets to guide our work. In everything we do, our focus is always to protect the rights of people with disabilities, and to advocate for full inclusion in the communities where you live, work, play, and go to school.
Will you take my case?
We offer individual representation to a small number of callers. But we encourage any person with a disability who believes their rights are being violated to call us. We provide many different types of supports and services. We will help you protect your rights.
We have also learned that when we take certain types of cases, we can make things better for the client and for many other people too. If you have a concern, we Contact Us. Your case could become part of a larger, class action lawsuit. It is also important that we keep track of the problems facing people with disabilities throughout the state.
Learn more about our legally based services and how we advocate:
What other community resources are available if you can’t help me?
If we cannot take you as a client, or your issue does not fall within one of our current Target areas, we will provide you with information and guidance so you can advocate for yourself, or a loved one. We can send you helpful self-advocacy resources, refer you to another agency or community partner that can help, or match you with a volunteer advocate or attorney.
We are always advocating and fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. Check out some of our current projects!