General Resources and Helpful Internet Links

General Brochure briefly explains what Disability Rights NC does, the people we serve, how we can help, our values and how to reach us. This brochure is also available in Spanish.

Adult Rights is a picture-based brochure showing an individual’s general rights in a facility. This information is also available formatted as a list in our Adult’s Rights Poster.

Kids Rights is a picture-based brochure showing a child’s general rights in a facility. This information is also available formatted as a list in our Kid’s Rights Poster.

Self Advocacy Tips is a short brochure on the five parts to being a self advocate.

Using Grievances as an Advocacy Tool is a longer handout that explains the general process of filing a grievance and self-advocacy. It includes information on when a grievance may be filed, who may file it, and who will hear it. It also provides guidance for constructing an effective grievance.

Moving from a Facility to the Community discusses the right to live in the community, transition programs that may help assist in moving from a facility to the community, and other resources.

The following links/resources and those on the issue area resource pages are provided as a courtesy and are not intended to be an inclusive or exhaustive list of resources or services. They are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by Disability Rights NC. The data contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not represented to be error free.

Federal Resources

Disability.gov is the federal government website that links to disability programs and services in communities throughout the nation.  It also has information on Social Security benefits, employment, housing, emergency preparedness, etc.

The U.S. Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, maintains www.ada.gov, which has a large variety of resources regarding the ADA including technical assistance manuals, business briefs, videos, explanations of physical accessibility requirements, design standards, information about ADA enforcement, and other resources.  The available resources on the technical assistance section include:
ADA Investigative Agencies by Subject DOJ is a fact sheet that provides the names and contact information of agencies responsible for investigations of ADA complaints on behalf of individuals with disabilities. It also includes information on where to direct particular complaints.
A Guide to Disability Rights Laws provides a brief overview of federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and provides information about the federal agencies that may offer more information or take a complaint.

NC State Agencies

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), http://www.ncdhhs.gov/index.htm. Divisions include:

  • Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (MH/DD/SAS) is responsible for implementing public mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services.  Their website for individuals, http://www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/services/index.htm,  includes information on a variety of sub-topics such as Child and Family Mental Health, Crisis Services, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.  The Division also has fact sheets on topics such as Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation; Involuntary Commitment, Personal Care Services, Peer Support Services, etc.
  • North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) is the state agency responsible for administering the Medicaid program in North Carolina.
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services provides counseling, training, education, transportation, job placement, assistive technology and other support services to people with disabilities.
  • Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR) oversees medical, mental health and adult care facilities (e.g., group homes, assisted living, and nursing homes), emergency medical services, and local jails. The website has information about licensed facilities, violations and penalties, and how to file a complaint against an entity DHSR oversees.
  • Division on Aging and Adult Services (AAA) has information about the Ombudsman program, senior centers, adult day care/health programs, long term care options, housing, family caregiver support, and other services for older adults and people with disabilities.
    • The local Area Agencies on Aging are a good resource for questions about issues that address older adults, persons with disabilities and their families. The AAAs are the local resource for aging and adult services and are located within regional Councils of Government. 
  • Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) provides a variety of services to individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment.
  • Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) provides direct services to individuals with hearing loss and the agencies and businesses that provide services.  This division also provides resource and linkages to programs and services all across the state.
  • Division of Social Services (DSS) provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to local DSS staff. The state DSS website has various resources, including FAQ on several subjects such child support, child welfare, energy assistance, financial assistance, etc. The website also includes a link to the DHHS manuals, and forms. The manuals are the policies for the operation of the programs, such as Medicaid.
  • NC Infant-Toddler Program provides supports and services for families and their children, birth to three, who have special needs. Local Children’s Developmental Services Agencies (CDSAs) are available to help families, caregivers, and professionals serve children with special needs.

NC Assistive Technology Program provides assistive technology device demonstration, device loans, device reutilization, training and technical assistance, and public awareness activities. The program also provides fee-based services to agencies, schools, and other organizations.

NC Department of Public Instruction-Exceptional Children’s Division is the state agency that oversees special education services in NC public schools. For more information about this division, see our Education page.

NC Department of Justice-Attorney General’s Office provides a wide variety of information for citizens, include some very topic-specific information for consumer protection. For example, information on credit and loans, telephone and do not call, home repair and home products, health, sweepstakes and prizes, and general consumer tips.

NC Department of Insurance not only regulates the insurance industry in the state, but helps educate individuals, takes complaints, etc. on health insurance and auto, homeowners, life and other insurance forms. DOI also has other responsibilities, such as building code, fire marshal, bail bondsmen, and other topics. See our Medicaid & Healthcare page for more information regarding DOI’s programs regarding healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid.

NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation (part of the NC Department of Administration) was founded in 2010 as a clearinghouse to assist victims of the former N.C. Eugenics Board program. It serves as the primary point of contact for victims, potential victims and the general public.

North Carolina Legal  Services

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove barriers to economic opportunity. Its website has resources available on issues such as benefits, renting and evictions, bankruptcy and other consumer issues, unemployment benefits, divorce, custody, etc. Legal Aid of NC also has several statewide projects, such as Advocates for Children’s Services, Fair Housing Project, Mortgage Foreclosure (Prevention) Project, and Senior Law Project.

The North Carolina Justice Center is a research and advocacy organization that works to eliminate poverty in North Carolina.  It provides legal services on select issues. Click here for more information.

ACLU of North Carolina provides legal assistance in a small number of cases that involve violations of civil liberties and civil rights. Click here for more information about applying for legal assistance from ACLU of North Carolina, the intake process and more information about the types of cases its staff handle.

NC Prisoner Legal Services provides a range of services, from advice about prisoner’s legal rights, to representation in litigation. For more information about PLS and the resources available on their website, see our Prisons & Jails resource page.

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (LSSP) is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that provides legal assistance in civil matters to low-income persons in the Charlotte area and in west-central North Carolina. LSSP’s website has resources available on topics such as consumer protection and healthcare and public benefits.

Pisgah Legal Services is a non-profit law firm that provides free civil legal aid to very low-income people in its service area. Pisgah Legal’s primary service area includes Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania counties. Pisgah Legal provides limited services in seventeen western North Carolina counties.

Council for Children’s Rights provides holistic representation for children in Mecklenburg County. Follow these links for more information about the children they serve and the issues on which they provide services

Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina provides advocacy for children in matters of domestic violence, high conflict custody, abuse and neglect, and educational issues.  Read the Center’s FAQs page for information about who the Center represents, what types of issues the Center works on, and how/when it gets involved.

NC Bar Association does not provide legal services but has resources available such as the “This is the Law” series of pamphlets. Individual sections also may have resources available. The NC Bar Association operates the NC Lawyer Referral Service and NC Find-a-Lawyer, which are no-cost referral services through which the referred attorney may charge up to $50 for an initial consultation lasting no more than 30 minutes.

North Carolina Law School Clinics

Each law school in North Carolina has clinics that provide legal services, usually in specific geographic areas around the school and certain areas of law. Law school clinics have different policies about referrals and direct requests for assistance, so carefully read the information on their websites about their referral process, what kinds of cases they take, etc.

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law has clinics for Civil Legal Assistance, Community Development Law, Consumer Financial Transactions, Domestic Violence Representation, Immigration, and Juvenile Justice.

North Carolina Central University School of Law has clinics or programs for Community, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence, Low Income Taxpayer, Small Business, Street Law, and Veterans Law.

Duke University School of Law has an AIDS Legal Project and clinics for Appellate Litigation, Children’s Law, Community Enterprise, Environmental Law and Policy, Guantanamo Defense, Start-Up Ventures, and Wrongful Convictions.

Wake Forest University School of Law has clinics for Appellate Advocacy, Child Advocacy, Community Law & Business, Elder Law, Innocence & Justice, and Litigation.

Campbell University School of Law has a Juvenile Justice Project and a Senior Law Clinic.

Elon University School of Law has clinics for Elder Law, Immigration Law, and Wills Drafting.

Charlotte School of Law has clinics for Civil Rights, Community Economic Development, Domestic Violence, Entrepreneurship, Family Advocacy, Immigration Law, and Tax Controversy.

North Carolina Resources

NC Council on Developmental Disabilities works to improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities by initiating projects and activities and communicate with others to foster change and promote self-sufficiency for people with development disabilities.

Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center is NC’s Parent Training & Information Center (special education issues) and Family to Family Health Center (healthcare issues) as well as other programs. More information about resources available from ECAC can be found on our Education and Medicaid & Healthcare pages.

Family Support Network of NC is a statewide network of affiliated local programs that, among other services, help connect parents of children with special needs with similar experiences and connect families to resources in their communities.

First in Families is a family support initiative to support people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. FIFNC and its local FIF chapters promotes self-determination through public education and advocacy.

NC Families United is a family support and advocacy organization that supports and unites the voices of children, youth, and families with mental health concerns.

National Alliance on Mental Illness NC works to promote recovery and optimize the quality of life for those affected by mental illness. Click here for information on local chapters.

The Arc of North Carolina advocates through activities such as public policy and parent advocacy and has local chapters for families of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization is a direct provider of services.

Autism Society of NC supports individuals with autism and their families through parent advocates, chapters and local support groups, training, etc. The organization is a direct provider of services.

UNC TEACHH Autism Program works to create and cultivate the development of community-based services, training programs, and research to enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and for their families. TEACHH provides clinical services.

Brain Injury Association of NC works to create a better future for North Carolinians living with brain injury through prevention, support, education and advocacy. BIANC has local Brain Injury Resource Centers, an online Resource Book, and offers training and education, among other services.

F.I.R.S.T. is a resource center for families of children with or at risk of disabilities. F.I.R.S.T. serves western NC families on issues such as special education, access to community resources, and best practices.

Learning Disabilities Association of NC promotes awareness of the multifaceted nature of learning disabilities and works through education, support, advocacy, collaboration and the encouragement of ongoing research.

NC Coalition to End Homelessness is a statewide, membership-based, nonprofit created to secure resources, encourage public dialogue, and advocate for public policy change to end homelessness. The Coalition has several programs, including the Continua of Care and the NC SOAR Initiative, which has caseworkers in certain areas of the state to help increase access to Social Security benefits for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

United Way 2-1-1 Service is a telephone service available through much of the state that connects people with local community services to meet everyday needs and immediate needs of people in crisis. 2-1-1 and the local DSS agencies are good resources for identifying what may be available in any given local area.

Public Meetings & Records

North Carolina Guide to Open Government and Public Records is a booklet that explains North Carolina’s Public Records Act and Open Meetings Law. These laws are commonly known as the “Sunshine Laws” because they shed light on the activities of government. It includes overviews of laws for the public and for government officials.

The Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition has information on open meetings law in North Carolina and the procedures, and on public records.

Open Meetings Laws in North Carolina by the Digital Media Law Project.

Other Resources

The National Disability Rights Network is the nonprofit, membership-based organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs.

The Southeast ADA Center is the regional ADA center that covers North Carolina. It has a variety of resources and offers technical assistance and referral. For more related information, see our Accessibility page.

Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocate is a membership organization of attorneys, advocates, parents and related professionals who work to protect the civil rights and secure excellence in education for children with disabilities in America. For more information about COPAA, see our Education resource page.

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law works to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. Much of the Center’s work is done through policy and legal advocacy, but they also have helpful resources and publications.

The Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University (EDI) is largely focused on research, scholarly articles, training materials and sessions, etc., but it also has publications on a wide variety of topics, such as benefits and work, educational achievement and transition, and accommodations. EDI has a center on disability demographics and statistics (StatsRRTC) and  Cornell also hosts www.disabilitystatistics.org.

Other sources of statistical information include the Disability Statistics Center at the UCSF and Mathematica Policy Research Center for Studying Disability Policy.

Ability Magazine covers Health, Disability and Human Potential with the mission of providing new insights into individual levels of ability.

Ability Awareness works to build a world of inclusion for people with health conditions or disabilities by creating highly visible opportunities for people with disabilities to showcase their skills and talents to demonstrate their potential as volunteers, mentors and employees and shatter age-old paradigms.

There are also numerous disability, diagnosis or otherwise specific organizations, such as the National MS Society, Children and Adults with ADHD, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP),  American Diabetes Association, and Asperger Autism Syndrome Education Network that may have NC chapters or other helpful resources.

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