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400 East Broadway
Suite 409
Bismarck, ND 58501-4071

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North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project

Services: Policies: Programs And Services

E: P&A Services

It is the desire of the Committee on Protection and Advocacy that P&A provide quality and timely advocacy services to all qualified individuals who request them. The Committee recognizes, however, that P&A's resources may not allow for each eligible person to receive the level of advocacy services that he or she may desire. Therefore, advocacy services, beyond information and referral, will be provided by P&A based on specific case criteria that include established annual priorities.

Information * - The provision of knowledge, communicated by verbal, written or other means, that relates to disability issues, legal rights, and social or human services. Information is provided to anyone upon request. This may include generic information about P&A, resources external to P&A, and written documents or resources (including loaning of videotapes or books). The provision of information is usually of short duration, typically ranging from a few minutes to an hour, and does not require any type of follow-up but does not preclude follow-up to determine effectiveness and/or outcomes.

Referral * - Directing individuals to resources external to P&A for resolution of their concern or questions related to disability issues, legal rights, and social or human services. Referral services can be provided to anyone contacting P&A. Referrals do not involve follow-up beyond the initial contact other than to determine effectiveness and/or outcomes.

* [Note: Information or referrals (I&R) given by P&A staff about legal rights or process does not constitute legal advice or counsel. Examples that are NOT I&R include directory assistance (giving a phone number, address, etc.) and I&R within the agency.]

Advocacy Assistance - Advocacy Assistance is the provision of one or more limited interventions (including short-term assistance, technical assistance with self-advocacy, informal facilitation and discussion and supervised referrals) to assist eligible individuals with disabilities in resolving a disability-related problem that falls within the scope of P&A's priorities. The individual must have an identified goal to which they are legally entitled. Advocacy assistance does NOT include representation of the individual. Attendance at formal meetings and phone calls/letter-writing on behalf of the person are limited to assistance to complete a supervised referral. Advocacy assistance is generally not more than five (5) contacts, or five (5) hours of service, and is limited to six (6) months in duration.

Advocacy Representation - Representation by a P&A Disabilities Advocate of eligible individuals who have experienced, or who are experiencing, a disability-related rights violation that falls within the scope of P&A's priorities. Interventions may include representation at meetings, negotiation, mediation, and pursuing administrative remedies.

Protective Services - Actions to assist individuals with disabilities who are unable to manage their own resources or to protect themselves from abuse, neglect, exploitation or other hazards. The provision of protective services is a separate role from that of advocacy. It is addressed in a separate agency policy titled Protective Services, as well as NDCC 25-01.3.

Legal Representation - Legal representation by P&A (directly or through contract) of eligible individuals who have experienced, or who are experiencing, a disability-related rights violation that falls within the scope of P&A's priorities.

This table summarizes the criteria required for each level of the P&A's advocacy services for individuals with disabilities:

  Information and Referral Advocacy Assistance Advocacy Representation Legal Representation
1 Issue connected to disabilities, civil or legal rights, social or human services X X X X
2 Issue is central to person’s disability   X X X
3 Individual meets federal advocacy program eligibility   X X X
4 Problem falls within ND P&A priority OR is otherwise AT–related OR PABSS eligible OR TBI eligible   X X X
5 Definable objective for intervention/representation   X X X
6 Identified rights violation     X X
7 No duplication of advocacy services (with the exception of PABSS)     X X
8 Sufficient P&A resources     X X
9 Likelihood of successful resolution       X
10 Successful resolution would result in more than minimal gain for the individual OR failure to resolve would have substantial or negative impact on the individual OR successful resolution is likely to favorably impact significant numbers of people with disabilities       X
11 Accepted for representation by the Project Legal Team       X

P&A staff will provide prompt responses to all requests for advocacy services. Requests for assistance will be met through the provision of the least intrusive method available that will help resolve the problem. Advocacy assistance, advocacy representation and legal representation provided by P&A will be effective and timely.

Clients of P&A will be kept informed, in a manner consistent with the client's preferred means of communication, of the status of ongoing advocacy activities on his or her behalf. Education in self-advocacy will be an integral part of advocacy efforts with each client.

Clients of P&A (or their parents/representatives as appropriate) receiving advocacy assistance, advocacy representation or legal representation, may be asked to participate in a consumer satisfaction survey. The client is under no obligation to participate in the survey.

All applicants, clients, and former clients (or their parents/representatives as appropriate) will be provided with information on their right to file a grievance with P&A related to an action or inaction by P&A. Information on the process for filing a grievance shall be provided in a manner consistent with the client's mode of communication.

Specific P&A protocol for responding to referrals and providing advocacy services is included in the P&A Services manual.

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