What it means to be a P&A:
After Willowbrook, congress made sure that every state has a Protective and Advocacy agency. DRNC is the federally mandated P&A for North Carolina. It is our job to protect and advocate for the legal and human rights of people of North Carolina with disabilities. We do this in many different ways. Because we are not a government agency, we can keep an eye on state laws, policies and institutions to make sure they are fair and do not discriminate. If the state discriminates, we can take legal action. Learn more about P&As:
Some of the jobs that we do:
- We make sure you know your rights and how to protect those rights
- We make sure that you live in the community of your choice and are not unnecessarily institutionalized
- We monitoring facilities to keep you or your loved ones safe
- We advocate for positive change in public policy
- We tell your stories to unite our community and inspire change
- We support self-determination and meaningful community living
- Taking on legal cases to improve the lives of people with disabilities
One of the main jobs of a P&A is monitoring the conditions of facilities and settings that serve people with disabilities. When necessary, the team launches investigations to uncover and address abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
When Congress created the P&A system, it gave every P&A broad authority to access facilities and settings that provide services, care, and treatment to people with disabilities. Those locations include but are not limited to, schools, group homes, day programs, adult care homes, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment facilities.
What does access authority mean? We can go in any of those buildings unannounced to check in on the people who live there. The people who run the facilities must allow us to come in and speak to anyone we want. We can ask questions and look for things that could hurt someone. And we talk to the staff about what we see. Our access authority applies to both state-run and privately owned settings.