25 Reasons to Support Us

25 Reasons to Support Disability Rights NC in Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the ADA


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1.  One year ago, the State reestablished its Office on the ADA. This would not have happened without a substantial push from Disability Rights NC.

2. Disability Rights NC ensures doors are open for people who use service animals. There are only two questions a person representing a place of public accommodation should ask about service animals: (1) Is the animal individually trained to do a skill or task? (2) Is the animal trained to support a person with a disability?

3. Three years ago, North Carolina began permitting deaf individuals to serve on juries. This was accomplished through the legislative advocacy of Disability Rights NC's policy staff.

4. Four years ago, an investigative report published by Disability Rights NC led to a safer educational and living environment for students at the NC School for the Deaf in Morganton. The report prompted state leaders to change the school's leadership which paved the way for cultural changes at the School.

5. There are five titles in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA doesn't enforce itself, which is why you need Disability Rights NC.

6. Six advocates at Disability Rights NC travel the state to monitor the conditions at institutions and facilities where people with disabilities live. Many people with disabilities living in institutions have no one else who will protect them from abuse and neglect.

7. In August 2010, Disability Rights NC released Trapped in a Fractured System: People with Mental Illness in Adult Care Homes, a report examining the State's longstanding failure to address the problem of warehousing people with mental illness in adult care homes. The seven cases highlighted in the report demonstrated the dangerous conditions created by the State's failure to create community supports and services for people with mental illness. Disability Rights NC filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) alleging the practice of warehousing people with mental illness in adult care homes violated the ADA. The US DOJ agreed and negotiated with the State to put in place an 8-year plan to create critical services and housing to facilitate the transition of people with mental illness out of adult care homes into appropriate community placements.

8. Eight years ago, Disability Rights NC became North Carolina's protection and advocacy system. Since that time, we have provided services to nearly 40,000 North Carolinians with disabilities in all 100 counties.

9. Every person with a disability deserves to have a voice – all 1.9 million who live in North Carolina.

10. In 2010, Disability Rights NC received the Advocacy Award from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in recognition of its outstanding work in protecting the right of people with disabilities to live in the community.

11. On December 11, 2009, Disability Rights NC filed the lawsuit Marlo M. v. The Beacon Center and NC DHHS to stop the State’s termination of community-based mental health services. This was the first case filed by Disability Rights NC using the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. to prevent institutionalization. The case eventually settled with the named plaintiffs remaining in their apartments.

12. Students with disabilities deserve to stay in school (K-12) and out of the juvenile and criminal justice systems. We work to end the school-to-prison pipeline by addressing students’ needs for literacy skills, social/behavioral supports, and transition services.

13. On November 13, 2012, NC DHHS Secretary Al Delia banned the use of prone (face-down) restraint in all state facilities and community mental health, developmental disabilities or substance abuse service settings. This ban followed Disability Rights NC's investigation and report on the death of a resident with a disability at Murdoch Developmental Center, a state-operated facility in Butner. When a person with a disability dies in a facility or prison as the result of neglect or abuse, Disability Rights NC holds the facility or prison accountable.

14. From 2007 to 2015, 1,493 deaths in state facilities and prisons have been reported to Disability Rights NC. As the P&A, we have immediate access (within 24 hours of request), without consent from another party, to certain records in the event of a death. Our staff review each death report and conduct an investigation where abuse and neglect may have played a part in the death.

15. Fifteen is the number of employees that a company must have to trigger ADA coverage and protections in the workplace. The attorneys at Disability Rights NC have advocated and litigated successfully on behalf of workers who were discriminated against by their employer.

16. Sixteen years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Olmstead case. Disability Rights NC enforces the "integration mandate" outlined by the Court. (And Lois Curtis, the named plaintiff in the Olmstead case, spoke at our first Disability Advocacy Conference in 2014.)

17. Disability Rights NC held Listening Sessions in 17 locations across the state from January through May 2015. A total of 254 people joined us and shared their thoughts on the disability rights issues that people with disabilities in North Carolina most need our staff to address.

18. Eighteen individual advocates for people with disabilities (plus one organization) have received the Champions for Equality and Justice Award presented by Disability Rights NC. These advocates have made outstanding efforts to increase the awareness and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities, to create more inclusive communities, and to speak for and represent those who cannot represent themselves. Check out the full list of Champions Award recipients on our website.

19. Nineteen attorneys at Disability Rights NC (exactly one-half of the agency's staff) work tirelessly to fight for the rights of people with disabilities in our state.

20. The third annual Disability Advocacy Conference presented by Disability Rights NC will be held on April 20, 2016. This full-day conference is a day of education and networking for people with all types of disabilities, their families, and providers; disability rights advocates; and local and state agency representatives.

21. Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) provision protects youth from birth to age 21, entitling them to receive early detection and care to avert, diagnose, and/or treat health problems as early as possible. Disability Rights NC continues to work with children and adolescents with disabilities to overcome the obstacles they face in accessing their right to medically necessary behavioral health services to address their complex needs.

22. On September 22, 2011, Disability Rights NC received the Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award – the state’s highest honor for nonprofits -- presented by the NC Center for Nonprofits. Disability Rights NC was recognized for effectively using varied approaches to advocating for people with disabilities, expanding its community outreach efforts, and building and maintaining exemplary relationships with diverse stakeholders. "We selected Disability Rights NC for its successful use of a dozen different tools to improve public policies and services for people with disabilities," said Jane Kendall, president of the NC Center for Nonprofits. "One change in the law can change the lives of millions of people . . . ."

23. On December 23, 2014, a U.S. District Court Judge stopped the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from making further demands on two plaintiffs in current litigation that challenged the DMV’s administration of its Medical Review Program for licensed drivers. In February 2014, Disability Rights NC filed a lawsuit against the DMV claiming that the DMV’s administration of its Medical Review Program discriminated against individuals with disabilities and deprived them of due process. The lawsuit alleges that the DMV unnecessarily requires people with disabilities to undergo repeated testing or to periodically submit medical information to maintain their driving privileges.

24. For 24-hours-a-day, Disability Rights NC is the State’s best resource on the rights of people with any type of disability. Disability is a part of the human experience and no one should be defined by a diagnosis.

25. The NC General Assembly convened on June 25, 2015. Disability Rights NC is a strong voice at the legislature as it overhauls our state's Medicaid system.

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