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South Dakota Advocacy Services is South Dakota’s gubernatorial designated protection and advocacy (P&A) system. P&As are mandated under various federal statutes (see next section) to provide legal representation and other advocacy services to all eligible persons with disabilities. These services are provided through a variety of vehicles: individual representation, educating policy makers, advocacy for groups, information and referral services, rights education, and self-advocacy training.
The fundamental mission of the P&A system is to respond to allegations of abuse, neglect, and violations of the rights of individuals with disabilities, including discrimination based on disability. P&As devote considerable resources to develop capacities of individuals with disabilities, ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlement programs (e.g., Medicaid and Social Security), health care, accessible housing, and productive employment opportunities.
P&As accomplish these goals by pursuing legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies under all appropriate federal, state, and local laws (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Fair Housing Act).
Mission StatementTo protect and advocate the rights of South Dakotans with disabilities through legal, administrative, and other remedies.
SD Advocacy Programs
Protection and Advocacy Developmental Disabilities Program (PADD) (1977) The first of these statutory programs, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (DD) Act (42 U.S.C. 6001 et seq.), established the P&A system in 1975. (Regulations implementing the statute are published at 45 CFR Part 1386.) The statute’s passage was prompted in part by reports of inhumane and horrific conditions at Willowbrook, a New York State institution for persons with developmental disabilities. The Act was passed to protect the human and civil rights of this and similar vulnerable populations. Congress recognized that a federally directed system of legal advocacy is necessary “to ensure the humane care, treatment, habilitation, and protection” of persons with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Persons are eligible for service under the DD Act only if they have a severe, chronic disability which manifested before the age of 22 and which results in substantial functional limitations in three or more major life activities. Such disabilities include mental retardation, autism, and cerebral palsy.
Client Assistance Program (CAP) (1984) Through the Rehabilitation Act, Congress also established a related but more limited advocacy program called the Client Assistance Program (CAP). It was established as a mandatory formula grant program by the 1984 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 732). Under this program, protection and advocacy systems are mandated to provide information and assistance to individuals seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation services under the Rehabilitation Act, including assistance in pursuing administrative, legal, and other appropriate remedies to ensure the protection of their rights. Services provided in this program are also extended to individuals receiving or seeking services from the state division providing services to persons who are blind and visually impaired.
Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Program (PAIMI) (1986) In 1986, following congressional hearings and investigations which substantiated numerous reports of abuse and neglect in state psychiatric hospitals, former Senator Weicker introduced the bill which eventually became the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 (the PAIMI Act), 42 U.S.C. 10801 et seq. (The program’s regulations are published at 42 CFR Part 51.) The PAIMI Act, modeled after the DD Act, extends similar protections to persons with mental illness who reside in facilities. In passing this legislation, congress recognized the existing state systems responsible for protecting the rights of this population varied widely and were frequently inadequate. Eligibility under the PAIMI Program is generally limited to those persons with a significant mental illness or emotional impairment who are inpatients or residents of a treatment facility (including any private or public residential setting that provides overnight care such as hospitals, prisons, jails, and nursing homes).
Protection and Advocacy Individual Rights Program (PAIR) (1994) In 1994, Congress provided, for the first time, full funding for the Protection and Advocacy Individual Rights (PAIR) Program (29 U.S.C. 794e). This program was originally established in 1978 under the Rehabilitation Act (regulations are published at 34 CFR 381) as an optional service upon state application. South Dakota did not apply. The PAIR program provides P&As nationwide the authority to serve persons with disabilities who are not eligible under the other programs within the protection and advocacy system. The PAIR Program supports a variety of the P&As’ work, including that done under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (AD). Although the program is funded at a much lower level that the DD and PAIMI programs, it is a vitally important component of a comprehensive effort to advocate for the rights of all persons with disabilities. Typical persons eligible for PAIR services include those with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, HIV infection and AIDS, cancer, heart disease, mobility impairments, etc.
Protection and Advocacy Assistive Technology Program (PAAT) (1994) In 1994, Congress created a new mandate for P&As with the passage of amendments to the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabiolities Act (29 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.). Under this program, P&As are separately funded to assist individuals with disabilities, their family members and advocates, in accessing assistive technology devices and services (e.g., motorized wheelchairs, “talking” computers, and adaptive computer software) through case management, legal representation, and self-advocacy training. P&As are mandated to help facilitate, through legally based advocacy, changes in laws, regulations, policies, and practices that impede the availability or provision of assistive technology devices and services. In South Dakota, this program is called Protection and Advocacy Assistive Technology (PAAT).
Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security Program (PABSS) (2000) In 2000, Congress funded the Social Security Administration sufficiently to implement a program to provide for advocacy services to beneficiaries of Social Security. The program, entitled, Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) is set out at Title XI, Part A, Section 1150 of the Social Security Act, State Grants for Work Incentives Assistance to Disabled Beneficiaries. Under this authority the P&A’s may provide information and advice about obtaining vocational rehabilitation and unemployment services and advocacy or other services that a beneficiary with a disability may need to secure or regain gainful employment.
Protection and Advocacy Traumatic Brain Injury Program (PATBI) (2002) In 1996, Congress enacted Public Law 104-166 “to provide for the conduct of expanded studies and the establishment of innovative programs with respect to traumatic brain injury” (TBI). The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) are charged with implementing a state grant program to improve access to health and other services for individuals with TBI and their families. The Children’s Health Act of 2000 reauthorized the TBI program and created two additional grant categories. One category was Post Demonstration Grants to continue the systems development efforts begun by states. The second category was TBI Protection and Advocacy (P&A) grants to provide (1) information, referrals, and advice; (2) individual and family advocacy; (3) legal representation; and (4) specific assistance in self-advocacy to individuals with TBI and their families. South Dakota Advocacy Services was awarded a competitive three-year grant to implement a program.
Protection and Advocacy Vote Act (PAVA) (2003) On October 29, 2002 President Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act (Public Law 107-252) to establish, expand and improve access to an participation in the election process by individuals with disabilities. The law (42, U.S.C. 15461) authorizes the P&A systems funds to assist in the effort to ensure full participation in the electoral process including registering to vote, casting a vote, and accessing polling places. Funds may not be used to litigate election-related disability access.
South Dakota Advocacy Services is part of the South Dakota Developmental Disabilities Network.
For information on the State DD Council http://dhs.sd.gov/ddc
For information on the USD Center for Disabilities www.usd.edu/cd/