DD Advocacy

DRM provides advocacy services to individuals with developmental disabilities under the federal PADD Program.

Additionally, DRM also provides advocacy services to adults with Autism & Intellectual Disabilities who receive Developmental Services. DRM's Developmental Services Advocates (DSA) are funded by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS). The DSA advocates, who are located in Caribou, Bangor, Lewiston, Augusta/Rockland, and Portland, provide direct representation, respond to reported rights violations, attend all 3-person committee meetings reviewing the use of severely intrusive behavior and safety plans, attend Person Centered Planning meetings, and conduct regular outreach and training statewide.

Find the Developmental Services Advocate in your district!

 DRM's Recent Work

DRM Addresses Array of Serious Rights Violations for Client

DRM received several reportable events alleging rights violations regarding a man with an intellectual disability. The advocate at DRM met with the man, his staff, the guardian and the executive director of the agency and found out that the man's rights were being violated in many ways; staff were restricting his right to his property; using the soda that he purchased as a reward for good behavior; restricting what clothes he could wear; refusing to let him keep his property in his room; making his clean up his feces and urine when he was incontinent and using planned restraints - all without any intrusive plans in place. The advocate also discovered that there were over 30 pages of plans that the agency was using and they were all outdated or unapproved. These plans were also wrought with disrespectful language and were not person centered. The advocate educated the entire home staff and their supervisors about rights and reportable event procedures. Because of the advocacy of the DRM, the man's plans were discontinued and all of his rights were restored for the first time in his adult life.

DRM Assists Client with Becoming Her Own Guardian

An adult female with an intellectual disability contacted DRM requesting assistance terminating her guardianship and conservatorship. DRM discovered that the client had been put under guardianship and conservatorship without due process. The probate court had processed the client's family member’s request for temporary emergency guardianship/conservatorship without contacting the client. Then, instead of scheduling a hearing, the court issued an order for full guardianship and conservatorship. The client was never contacted by the court and had no knowledge of the order until he contacted DRM. DRM made a motion to the court requesting that the court vacate the client's guardianship/conservatorship on the basis that she did not receive due process when the order was made.

At hearing, the court requested that the parties consider a potential settlement.  The client's current guardian agreed to terminate guardianship/conservatorship if the client agreed to put her money in a special needs trust, which the client agreed to do.  At hearing, both parties submitted the Settlement Agreement to the court. Pursuant to that agreement, the court terminated the client's guardianship.

DRM Successfully Advocates for Client to Receive Specialized Services

In the course of conducting outreach to Van Meter v. Mayhew class members living in nursing facilities concerning the provision of specialized services, DRM discovered woman in her 40's with cerebral palsy that had not left the nursing facility in months.  Initially, she had not been identified by the State as needing specialized services.  DRM successfully negotiated for the client to receive community support services.  In arranging these community support services, the nursing facility attempted to limit her choice to one program, citing transportation issues. DRM resolved the transportation issue by obtaining additional information and sharing it with the nursing facility.

 Resources

Graduate School Success for Students with Disabilities

From GoGrad.com:

"The NCES reports that graduate students with disabilities make up just eight percent of the student body. Disabilities – defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities – don’t have to act as a barrier for prospective graduate students aspiring to further education.

The following guide provides funding sources, resources for students with visual and hearing impairments, and an expert interview discussing how to excel in graduate school as a student with a disability."

GoGrad.com - Graduate School Success for Students with Disabilities

Department of Health & Human Services Training Opportunities

This site provides a list of available training opportunities offered by DHHS' Staff Education & Training Unit. Individuals may also use this site to register for upcoming events.

DRM's Developmental Services Advocates collaborate with DHHS staff on rights trainings across the state.

Department of Health & Human Services, Staff Education and Training Unit (SETU)

A Basic Guide to Self-Advocacy

This manual is intended to provide a simple yet informative overview of how to be a self-advocate. This manual is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have specific questions or need assistance with a particular issue, please contact Disability Rights Maine.

 Trainings & Upcoming Events

 News

 Systemic Work

Supported Decision-Making

DRM is one of the founding members and facilitator of the Supported Decision-Making Coalition, a group of community partners with a shared objective of providing information to the community on alternatives to guardianship.  The third meeting of the Supported Decision-Making Coalition occurred February 19, 2016. The Coalition met to review outreach materials, training, and policy research to share on the Coalition’s website. In the first half of the meeting, the Coalition heard from Julia Otis of TrueLink Financial on the organization’s new product, the TrueLink Card, to assist individuals with difficulty making financial decisions. Also presenting via Skype, the Coalition heard from Clint McKay of The Arc of Indiana, on Indiana’s progress implementing Supporting Decision-Making in their State. The Coalition has agreed to meet in smaller groups to better develop strategic plans of outreach before the next meeting (TBA) in May. More information on Supported Decision-Making and alternatives to guardianship can be found on the Coalition’s website at www.supportmydecision.org.