Become a Poll Worker!

Disability Rights Maine and the City of Westbrook are partnering to run a pilot program for the upcoming March 5th election. The focus of the partnership is to increase the visibility of the disability community and encourage civic engagement, by serving as poll workers. What is a poll worker? Citizens that help to manage elections for their community Why become a poll worker? Interact with your communitySupport fair and accessible electionsEnsure polling places meet the needs of all voters, especially those with disabilitiesReceive $13.80 an hour for your time (must complete paperwork in advance) To serve as a poll worker ...Read More

Executive Student Transition Committee Opportunity

Do you want to help students reshape their future and lead youth efforts to support students transitioning from high school into adulthood? If so, consider joining the growing Executive Student Transition (EST) Committee, a project by the Maine Department of Education Office of Special Services and Inclusive Education! We’re a passionate group of young individuals with diverse abilities and unique challenges, dedicated to shaping a brighter future for individuals transitioning into adulthood. • We’re on a mission to expand our reach across the state, extending our support to more communities, schools, and groups. • Our focus is on enhancing opportunities ...Read More

Resources in Response to Tragedy in Lewiston

Following the horrific events in Lewiston last week, Disability Rights Maine (DRM), Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA), and the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project (VLP) are working together to address the legal needs of families impacted by this terrible tragedy. Our organizations are also working to coordinate with other legal aid providers to ensure all needs are met. We know that victims, families, and our community have been profoundly impacted by the violence and trauma of this event. We also know that legal needs will emerge for those most directly impacted, including needs for assistance with matters related to estate and probate ...Read More

Disabled & Deaf Trans People's Survey led by the Disability Project at the Transgender Law Center

The Disability Project wants to hear from disabled and Deaf trans people—particularly Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), low income and rural community members. Intentionally collecting stories, needs, and priorities from community is a tool to fight systemic oppression and advocate for ourselves. This survey is about building community power. We know a lot is going on and things are rough out there—yet our experiences matter! If you can, please take the time to share your perspectives and truths in this groundbreaking survey. Visit You can take the survey in English, Spanish or ASL with closed captions. You can ...Read More

COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations and Changes as of November 28, 2023

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidance and recommendations, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Summary of recent changesCDC recommends the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax, to protect against serious illness from COVID-19.Everyone 5 years or older should get 1 dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness from COVID-19.Children 6 months to 4 years need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be up to date, including at least 1 dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine.People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of updated COVID-19 vaccine. ...Read More

DRM Recognized for Work to End Sexual Violence

Disability Rights Maine was recently honored by the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) for our work to address sexual violence for people with disabilities. We are humbled and honored to receive MECASA's 2023 Make A Difference Award and NSVRC's 2023 Visionary Voice Award. On April 25th, we gathered at Maple Hill Conference Center to celebrate! ...Read More

Maine Board of Bar Examiners Makes Historic Changes to Maine Bar Application

From: Aiello Law167 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347Kristin@AielloLawMaine.com207-248-6055207-458-9703 – cellKristin L. Aiellowww.aiellolawmaine.comFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE"Effective April 20, 2023, the Maine Board of Bar Examiners (MBBE) has made historic changes to Maine’s Bar Application by permanently removing questions asking applicants about their history, diagnoses, or treatment of mental health or substance use disorders. Instead, the MBBE will use questions that focus on conduct or behavior when evaluating an applicant’s ability to practice law in a competent, ethical, and professional manner. These changes come as the result of a disability discrimination complaint filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission."Read the complete press release about ...Read More

Disability Rights Maine Statement on Violence and Mental Illness

On a nearly daily basis, we witness situations of mass violence across our country. The Gun Violence archive reports that there have been 131 mass shootings in the first three months of 2023. It is unfathomable. As people search for answers to why this keeps happening, the blame quickly lands on individuals with labels of mental illness. We must confront this stigmatizing narrative. People with psychiatric labels are not the cause of violence in our country. Across the world, more than 790 million people live with a diagnosed mental health disorder. Yet, we only see this pervasive violence occur in ...Read More


Update on the Deaf-Blind Equipment Program

The Deaf-Blind Equipment Program, or iCanConnect as it’s also known, is alive and well, and under new management for the State of Maine as of 12/1/2022. If you are a currently enrolled in the program and need additional assistance, please contact Laura Vaughan, at Perkins School for the Blind. She can be reached via email at, or by phone at 617.972.7619. If you would like to apply to the program for equipment and services as a new client, you can download an application from the web site or contact Brenda Baroncelli at, or via Videophone at 516.340.1014 ...Read More

PRESS RELEASE: Advocates respond to DOJ investigation finding significant failures in Maine’s children’s behavioral health system

The investigation adds to years of evidence that Maine is institutionalizing children with disabilities, instead of providing necessary supports in the communityPORTLAND — An investigation into Maine’s children’s behavioral health system by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) finds statewide failures that create a significant risk of segregating and institutionalizing children with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice issued its findings on the 23rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C., which found that unnecessarily segregating people with disabilities into institutional settings violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yet ...Read More

Justice Department Finds Maine in Violation of ADA For Over-Institutionalization of Children with Disabilities

On the 23rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., the Department of Justice announced today that it has concluded that Maine  unnecessarily segregates children with mental health and/or developmental disabilities, in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, and a state-operated juvenile detention facility. The Olmstead decision held that people with disabilities have a right to live and receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs — typically in their homes and communities instead of in institutions. To read the DOJ's full press release, click the link at the bottom of this page. Click ...Read More

New Resource for Locating Services and Supports for Families in Maine

In an effort to increase knowledge of the existing services and supports for individuals and families in Maine, the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) worked closely with other state agency partners to develop a Family Services Resource Guide, also known as Access Maine. This online tool ( launched in April 2022 and includes an inventory of state-level programs that will connect OCFS staff, service providers, individuals, and families to resources that can support everyone in Maine to be safe, happy, healthy, and successful. This tool complements the existing 211 Maine program ( where individuals can call, text ...Read More

New Report Details How Schools are Illegally Removing Students with Disabilities

From NDRN: For Immediate Release 01/25/2022 Contact: David Card 202.408.9514 x122 Washington, DC – Schools across the country remove students with disabilities from the classroom using illegal practices known as “informal removals. These off the books dismissals are described in detail in a new report released today by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) called Out from the Shadows: Informal Removal of Children with Disabilities from Public Schools. The report provides examples of children missing entire semesters of instruction after being removed from school because of behaviors related to their disabilities. The practice, coined by NDRN as “informal removal,” ...Read More


MDOE confirms that students with disabilities outside of their school districts retain all of their rights under the IDEA, including stay put protections

MDOE confirms that students with disabilities outside of their school districts retain all of their rights under the IDEA, including stay put protections On November 24, 2021, the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) issued Administrative Letter # 28 clarifying the obligations of Maine schools who receive students with disabilities from a home/sending school district through the IEP process. DRM has heard from families with students who are left with little to no education when a receiving school decides that they will no longer serve the student – leaving the sending district and the family scrambling. While the sending district maintains ...Read More

Maine’s ABLE Program is now live!

From the Bangor Savings Bank Website: "Living with a disability is often associated with significant amounts of extra costs. That’s why individuals and families can now contribute to ABLE accounts — tax-advantaged accounts that can fund disability expenses without impacting means-tested benefits eligibility. What are ABLE Accounts? ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. ABLE Programs were created as a result of the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, better known as the ABLE Act. The beneficiary of the account is the account owner, and income earned ...Read More

Investigations in 18 States Find Serious Abuse at For-profit Youth Facilities

"A disturbing new report by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) reveals widespread abuse and neglect at for-profit youth residential treatment facilities. The report, Desperation without Dignity, provides a comprehensive review of investigations by the nation’s Protection and Advocacy agencies and others in 18 states. It examines the history of the for-profit residential treatment industry, the private funding structure that fuels it, and discusses alternatives to residential placement that are both nurturing and provide the treatment that children and youth need. “Our investigators, along with other powerful advocates, have been inside these facilities,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “In ...Read More

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Starts October 1

WASHINGTON, DC – In recognition of the beginning of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) calls on Congress, the Administration, and state policy leaders to work toward the employment of people with disabilities in jobs that pay a competitive wage and are integrated. NDEAM is an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. Led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the purpose of the month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. NDRN has a long ...Read More

Disability Rights Maine Announces Atlee Reilly as New Legal Director

Augusta, Maine - Disability Rights Maine (DRM) is pleased to announce Atlee Reilly (he/him) as its new Legal Director, effective October 1, 2021. Peter Rice, current Legal Director, has been appointed General Counsel. “I think this is a great move for Disability Rights Maine,” said Kim Moody, the Executive Director. “I look forward to the many new directions toward which I know Atlee is uniquely qualified to help us move. This is an exciting time. And I thank Peter Rice both for being an excellent Legal Director for 22 years and for being willing to stay on after his ‘retirement’.” ...Read More

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Department of Justice Reaches Settlement with Lewiston Public Schools to End Discriminatory Use of Shortened School Days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 28, 2021 U.S. Department of Justice Reaches Settlement with Lewiston Public Schools to End Discriminatory Use of Shortened School Days Complaint filed by Maine civil rights organizations initiated the DOJ investigation Augusta, Maine – Lewiston Public Schools (LPS) will have to end the district’s systemic and discriminatory practice of excluding students from full-day school because of behavior related to their disabilities, according to the terms of a settlement with the United States Department of Justice. The settlement, which was announced late on Thursday, will also require LPS to provide equal educational opportunities to its English learner students ...Read More

DRM Thanks AG Frey for Supporting Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA)

Maine AG Aaron Frey was one of 17 Attorneys General to sign onto a letter in support of the Keeping All Students Safe Act, which would ban the use of seclusion and restrict the use of restraints in the nation's schools.  Specifically, "KASSA would make it illegal for any school receiving federal funds to seclude children and would ban mechanical, chemical and supine restraint as well as practices that restrict breathing, including prone restraint."  Read the letter to Congressional Leadership (PDF) In an April 1, 2021 letter to AG Frey, DRM thanked him for his support of KASSA, noting that ...Read More

Advocates Respond to MSBA Statement

Parent and Student Advocatesi Respond to MSBA Statement Regarding LD 552 LD 552 ‐ An Act to Strengthen the Individualized Education Program Process was designed to provide parents of students with disabilities with an equal voice during the development and revision of their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Specifically, LD 552 would require parental consent before a previously agreed upon IEP could be changed. The Maine Legislature’s Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs recently voted to pass the bill and send it to the entire legislature. But groups representing school administrators are working against the bill and using incomplete and at ...Read More

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Page

Disability Rights Maine is working to ensure that all Mainers, including people with disabilities, are able to receive COVID-19 vaccines.  This page contains information about the vaccines (Moderna & Pfizer), the latest news from the Governor and Maine CDC, and a listing of vaccine clinics across the state.   COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations and Changes as of November 28, 2023 Additionally, the Federal Government ended the Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on May 11, 2023. Learn more about what this means for you by reviewing the Fact Sheet from February 2023. You can also stay up to date on the impact through the Office ...Read More

Our View: Oxford County town’s anti-mask resolution misuses Americans with Disabilities Act

Selectmen in the town of Paris are among those making a mockery of rights won by people with disabilities. By The Editorial Board Thirty-one years ago next month, a group of protesters with disabilities ditched their wheelchairs and crutches and began moving – slowly – up the 78 steps of the U.S. Capitol’s West Front, demanding their rights. Known as the Capitol Crawl, it was the culmination of a decades-long and ultimately successful effort to get Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. It took one protester, an 8-year-old with cerebral palsy, almost an hour to get to ...Read More

Website: Vision for an Equitable Maine

As Maine rebuilds from the pandemic, our "new normal" should be more equitable. This moment is an opportunity to help people regain lost ground, and to build a more resilient future where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. Click the link below to visit the website and learn more about the Vision for an Equitable Maine. ...Read More

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: Change in the Ending Age for Special Education Eligibility

Administrative Letter: 1 Policy Code: IHBEA To: Public School Administrators From: Pender Makin, Commissioner Date: January 21,2021 Subject: Change in the Ending Age for Special Education Eligibility – Effective Immediately The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to provide “[a] free, appropriate public education . . . to all children with disabilities residing in the State between the ages of 3 and 21 inclusive[.]” 20 U.S.C. § 1415(a)(1)(A). IDEA permits an exception to this general age range: “[t]he obligation to make a free, appropriate public education available to all children with a disabilities does not apply with ...Read More


PRESS RELEASE: Interim Agreement Reached in Merrill v. Dunlap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 1, 2020 Interim Agreement Reached and Accessible Absentee Voting for People with Print Disabilities Will Be Implemented in Maine for the November 3, 2020 Election Augusta, Maine – An interim agreement has been reached between the Maine Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) and named municipalities and Plaintiffs Lynn Merrill, Nicholas Giudice, Pauline Lamontagne, Cheryl Peabody, and Disability Rights Maine that provides Maine voters an accessible absentee ballot system for the upcoming November 3, 2020 general election. Following a lawsuit filed on July 15, 2020 by the Plaintiffs, the SOS agreed to develop and implement an accessible ...Read More

DRM Statement on Portland Press Herald Article That Misinforms Voters with Disabilities

In its September 24, 2020 article “Some voters fear being ‘purged’ at the polls. Should you?” the Portland Press Herald mistakenly reports that “A clerk must remove you from the voting list if they are given notice that you have been placed under guardianship due to mental illness.” This is wrong. Any attempts to enforce this provision are unconstitutional and discriminatory. In its article, the Press Herald incorrectly relied on obsolete language from Maine’s Constitution, language that was invalidated by a federal judge nearly 20 years ago in Doe v. Rowe, 156 F. Supp. 35 (D. Me. 2001), a case ...Read More

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020

AUGUSTA – Disability Rights Maine (DRM) joins its partners in the National Disability Rights Network in applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. We are heartened by the nationwide groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota just over a month ago. Maine, one of the two whitest states in the country, is in the throes of grappling with racial justice and police brutality. As we strive to make our state truly accessible to all, we ...Read More

DRM Statement in Solidarity

Disability Rights Maine is in solidarity with all who condemn the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police and all ongoing systemic violence against black men and women, African Americans, and all communities of color. Disability Rights Maine rejects white supremacy and rejects racism. We value equality, inclusion, racial and disability justice, civil rights and human rights, for all. Disability Rights Maine recognizes that we must each continually examine our own privilege and our role in and power to create change. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of ...Read More

Join the Maine State Rehabilitation Council

State Rehabilitation CouncilDivision of Vocational RehabilitationThe Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) wants your input! The SRC is a statewide consumer-driven group tasked to work with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) about how well DVR’s programs and services meet the needs of people with disabilities. The Council meets monthly and invites you, as members of the public, to join us! Additionally, the SRC is looking to recruit more members who represent the voices of those impacted by a disability, specifically a person with a disability. To learn more about the SRC, please visit: Contact Information:Cheryl Peabody, Chairepeabody@roadrunner.com207.872.759 ...Read More

COVID-19 Resources for People with Disabilities

Dear Clients, Friends and Allies; I am reaching out again from Disability Rights Maine (DRM) to remind you that we are still here! DRM staff are still working to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are upheld. Advocates and attorneys are still working on their cases, but doing so remotely. In addition to the normal work, we are calling providers with a survey related to COVID-19 issues, we are conducting virtual training, we are doing a systematic monitoring project to check on our clients, we are calling current and previous clients and of course, our intake is fully ...Read More


Maine Juvenile Justice System Assessment & Reinvestment Task Force

Taken from We AreChaired by Rep. Michael Brennan (D-Portland), Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty and Jill Ward of the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law, the Task Force is comprised of government leaders from multiple agencies, legislators, members of the Judiciary, practitioners and individuals from impacted communities. Task Force members will work with national experts to assess the efficacy of the current system and develop recommendations to improve outcomes for system-involved youth. To lead the assessment, the state Juvenile Justice Advisory Group has contracted with the Center for Children's Law and Policy (CCLP) to work in collaboration ...Read More

Restraint in Schools: How This Practice is Used on Maine Students & What Methods May Work Better

Guests:Ross Greene, founder, Lives in the Balance; clinical child psychologist and author of the books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings; developed the model of intervention called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions Ben Jones, attorney, Disability Rights Maine, and author of the May 2019 report "Restraint and Seclusion in Maine Schools" Pender Makin, Commissioner, Maine Department of Education Patty Chamard & Jennifer Johnson - Two mothers with children who've been subjected to restraint and seclusion ...Read More

He’s 42, autistic – and finally on his own

"Supported decision-making, an alternative to guardianship, has made Joshua Strong of Damariscotta a pioneer among Maine’s developmentally challenged." You can read the full story by clicking the link below and visiting Press Herald's website. ...Read More

Press Release: Task force created to help transform juvenile justice in Maine

For Immediate Release May 16, 2019 Task force created to help transform juvenile justice in MaineNew task force is collaboration of state legislators, the Department of Corrections and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group AUGUSTA – Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, announced today a newly formed task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and develop recommendations for continuum of care for system-involved youth and those at risk for becoming involved in the justice system. Chaired by Brennan, Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty and Jill Ward of the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law, the task force brings together ...Read More

Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Report Calls for Action to Address the Rise of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools

CONTACT: Ben FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 13, 2019 Disability Rights Maine Report Calls for Action to Address the Rise of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools AUGUSTA – This morning, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled Restraint and Seclusion in Maine Schools: Reviewing the First Six Years of Data Required by MDOE Rule Chapter 33. DRM’s report is based on a review and analysis of the first six years of data collected by the Maine Department of Education, as well as data reported to the federal government and data DRM obtained through public records requests. It serves to ...Read More

Announcement Regarding Legal Interpreting Fund

May 3, 2019 Dear Colleague: The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened at the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, along with Disability Rights Maine Deaf Services, are together writing to let you know that the Legal Interpreting Fund was recently repealed in the Governor’s budget. This fund had paid for interpreters for private lawyers and advocates needing to meet with their Deaf clients and those resources will now be used to assist Deaf Maine citizens in ensuring access to effective communication. As of July 1, 2019 this fund will no longer be available ...Read More

May is Children's Mental Health Awareness Month

“Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month Events” Monday, May 6th is “Children’s Mental Health Awareness” Day “Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work” Join us for our kickoff event in collaboration with the Office of Child and Family Services, Children’s Behavioral Health Services! Come and hear from our Governor in addition to several Maine family members and youth who will share their heartfelt stories about suicide and resiliency! The Maine Alliance of Family Organizations and children’s behavioral health providers from across our state will also be present to offer information how they help support the families and youth in Maine!! All parents/caregivers ...Read More

Save the Date! 10th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury

BIAA-ME's 10th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury will take place on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at the University of Southern Maine's Abromson Center in Portland. The conference is open to professionals, survivors, caregivers, students, and anyone interested in learning more about brain injury. Download the "Save the Date" flyer here. Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture We are currently seeking submissions from Maine brain injury survivors, family members, and others who are interested in giving the Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture at the conference. You can download the application here. Please submit your application by May 6, 2019, to be ...Read More

New!!! LD 984 (Home & Community Services for Kids) Fact Sheet

Maine kids with disabilities are entitled to quality services in their homes and communities! The legislature is about to consider two crucial issues that impact the well-being of Maine youth with disabilities. First, close to 60 of our youth are in residential treatment programs out of state – some as far away as Utah, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. This is harmful and painful for youth and families. Second, there are up to 300 residential beds currently licensed in Maine, and hundreds of Maine children waiting for in-home and community services. Yet DHHS has proposed building more institutions for young people ...Read More

Press Release: King, Collins Lead Effort Empowering Seniors, Individuals with Disabilities to Continue Living Safely At Home

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 7, 2019Contact: Annie Clark (Collins) 202-224-2523 Matthew Felling/Jeff Sobotko (King) 202-224-5344 Bipartisan, bicameral bill would streamline federal programs for those looking to modify their homes to support independent living WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today introduced the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and a group of their colleagues. The legislation would make it easier for older Americans and individuals with disabilities to access federal home modification programs and remain in their homes. By helping these populations navigate and utilize these ...Read More

Attorney Kristin Aiello Appointed to US Dist. Ct. Local Rules Committee

Chief District Judge Jon D. Levy is pleased to announce that effective March 1, 2019 the Court has appointed Kristin Aiello and Susan Faunce to serve on the Local Rules Advisory Committee. The Local Rules Advisory Committee studies the rules of practice and makes recommendations to the Court concerning its rules and procedures and is a vital link between the practicing bar and the Court. Attorney Kristin Aiello represents individuals with disabilities who have been discriminated against in employment, state and local government and public accommodations. Kristin's work focuses on litigation. She leads the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Team ...Read More

Training Announcement: RRMHS (Children) & Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities

The Office of Child and Family Services invites you to attend a training regarding the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services Who Are Children in Need of Treatment and the Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities. This training was developed in partnership with Disability Rights Maine (DRM). The training will review the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services Who are Children in Need of Treatment with participants, and discuss real situations. This training will also review obligations of providers to honor children/youth’s rights, and ensure children/youth are aware and understand their rights. Each session will also provide an ...Read More

Save the Date! 2019 Southern Maine Autism Conference

Pine Tree Society and Spurwink are pleased to present the 11th annual Southern Maine Autism Conference! The conference is designed for parents and family members of children with autism spectrum disorders, as well as educators and other service providers. The conference is at no charge to the participants, though registration is required as this is often a "sold out" event. Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 8am-4pm. DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland. Keynote Presentation You Belong: Stories from our Neurodiverse Friendship by Kyler Shumway, MA & Daniel Wendler, MA Follow the Southern Maine Autism Conference Facebook page @southernmaineautismconference for updates & registration announcements ...Read More

Learn About DRM's Rep Payee Review Program!

On April 13, 2018, the President signed the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 which authorizes the nation’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system to monitor and investigate how social security representative payees are administering Social Security funds. The law directs P&As to conduct periodic, onsite individual or organizational representative payee reviews along with additional discretionary reviews. In addition, the P&As conduct educational visits and conduct reviews based on allegations they receive of payee misconduct. Rep Payee Program Handout (PDF) ...Read More

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Releases Report of Children’s Behavioral Health Services

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Kirsten Capeless, Maine Department of Health and Human Services(207) 624-7900 or Maine Department of Health and Human Services Releases Report of Children’s Behavioral Health Services The Mills Administration today released a report completed during the LePage Administration on children’s behavioral health. Augusta, MAINE – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today released a comprehensive assessment of Maine’s Children Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), conducted by Public Consulting Group, that identifies strengths, weaknesses, and gaps within the CBHS system of care. This independent evaluation conducted by national experts has provided beneficial insight into ...Read More


Press Release: Guardianship Terminated in Favor of Supported Decision-Making for the First Time in Maine

CONTACT: Nell Brimmer, Esq.207.626.2774 (W) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 13, 2018 AUGUSTA – Disability Rights Maine (DRM) announces that for the first time in Maine, a guardianship has been terminated in favor of Supported Decision-Making (SDM). The petition to terminate stated that Petitioner Joshua Strong believed he was no longer incapacitated under the law because he is now utilizing Supported Decision-Making. The Knox County Probate Court agreed that by utilizing supports and services as well as chosen supporters, Mr. Strong is now able to effectively manage his affairs and no longer requires a guardian. DRM Managing Attorney Nell Brimmer, who represented ...Read More

Read ACLU's Statement Regarding Recently Filed Lawsuit Against Long Creek

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 14, 2018 CONTACT: Rachel Healy, 774-5444x2 or 409-5509 ACLU of Maine Files Lawsuit Over Beating of 11-Year-Old at Long Creek   Child Was Denied Adequate Medical Care Before and After Guards Attacked Him PORTLAND – The brutal beating of a 11-year-old boy with mental illness by two guards at Long Creek Youth Development Center is the subject of a lawsuit filed today by the ACLU of Maine. The civil rights case challenges the use of excessive force, deliberately indifferent medical care, and statutory violations against the boy, referred to in the case as A.I.  “A.I. experienced cruelty ...Read More

Maine kids with disabilities expect quality services in their homes and communities!

Maine is required to provide in-home and community services for kids with disabilities. These services teach skills and provide therapy to kids and families. When these services work well, kids with disabilities can be successful at home, and not forced to live in institutions. For many kids and families, the system is not working. There are two major problems with in-home and community services in Maine: access and quality. Because of these access and quality problems, kids who otherwise could be served successfully at home are facing worse outcomes: going into crisis, frequent police calls and hospitalizations, stress on ...Read More

DRM & Partners Celebrate 10th Anniversary of ASL Tax Day!

Saturday, February 24, 2018, marked the 10th anniversary of American Sign Language (ASL) Tax Day in Portland, Maine. Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication (SPEC) partners provided free tax preparation services to 44 taxpayers who are deaf or hard of hearing. These partners included CA$H Greater Portland, Disability Rights Maine, Maine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and the University of Southern Maine. “ASL Tax Day started in Maine 10 years ago,” said SPEC Director Frank Nolden. “We later adopted their model and encouraged participation throughout SPEC and our partner network. With the support of the National Disability Institute and ...Read More


Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Reacts to the Release of the Long Creek Youth Development Center Conditions Report

CONTACT: Atlee Reilly207.844.4190 (C) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 14, 2017 Disability Rights Maine Reacts to the Release of the Long Creek Youth Development Center Conditions Report AUGUSTA – Today, Maine’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) released the results of a conditions assessment of the Long Creek Youth Development Center (LCYDC). This assessment was completed by the Center for Children's Law and Policy, which is nationally recognized as having expertise in assessing juvenile detention facilities. Experts in the fields of education, mental health treatment for adolescents, and medical treatment of adolescents reviewed thousands of documents and spent three days at Long Creek ...Read More

Progress on long-standing agreement to improve Maine system remains gradual

Now having passed the 27th anniversary of the signing of a consent decree setting out mandated reforms to Maine’s mental health service system, the state still appears to be moving incrementally toward the desired outcome.  A progress report issued this month by the court-appointed monitor for the agreement stated that “progress is being made, although haltingly at times.”   Areas that have shown improvement, according to retired Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Daniel Wathen as well as advocates interviewed by MHW, include reductions in waiting lists for certain services as well as the provision of needed housing assistance for ...Read More

Press Release: DRM Issues Report Regarding the Use of Law Enforcement Intervention by Youth Residential Service Providers

PRESS RELEASE   CONTACT: Katrina Ringrose207.319.8334 (C)     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 9, 2017   Disability Rights Maine Report Highlights Concerns Regarding the Use of Law Enforcement Intervention by Youth Residential Service Providers AUGUSTA – Earlier today, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled Assessing the Use of Law Enforcement by Youth Residential Service Providers.  The report is available here: Read the Report (PDF) Read the Report (Word) DRM began researching the use of law enforcement by youth residential service providers after a report by the Maine Department of Corrections found that as of July 2016, approximately one ...Read More

Maine proposals aim to house former forensic patients with MI

As Maine Gov. Paul LePage moves forward with plans to build a privately run, state psychiatric residence in Bangor without legislative approval, lawmakers have released their own proposal that calls for a residential, step-down facility in the Capitol Area of Augusta.  The executive and legislative proposals would house residents who have been ruled by the courts to not be responsible for their crimes due to a mental illness. LePage has released a request for proposal (RFP) through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The RFP says the 21-bed building would be completed by March 2019, with a ...Read More

Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Issues Report Regarding the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools

CONTACT: Ben Jones AUGUSTA – Earlier today, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled “RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION IN MAINE SCHOOLS, Reviewing the First Four Years of Data Required by MDOE Rule Chapter 33.” Chapter 33 Report (Word) Chapter 33 Report (PDF) Collection of restraint and seclusion data by Maine Department of Education (MDOE) began in 2013 after a consensus based rulemaking effort to develop rules regulating the use of these practices. The resulting rule is commonly referred to as “Chapter 33”. These regulations define restraint and seclusion as emergency interventions that may only be used when there is ...Read More

Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine

A new report from USM’s Muskie School of Public Service details a records system that is confusing, misunderstood and often unintentionally punishes individuals long after their time in the justice system has ended.  Nationally, research into the impact of juvenile records on individuals’ attempts to move beyond their involvement with the justice system has demonstrated a range of long-term consequences, from difficulty in securing housing or employment to enlisting in the military and Maine is no different. The report’s authors conducted focus groups, interviews and surveys of youth and adults with juvenile records, family members, juvenile justice practitioners, and ...Read More

Lewiston School Department Fails To Adequately Serve Students of Color and Students with Disabilities, Say Rights Groups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 7, 2017  CONTACT: Rachel Healy, ACLU of Maine, 774-5444 x2 or 409-5509Atlee Reilly, Disability Rights Maine, 626-2774 x220Courtney Beer, Kids Legal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, 400-3269 Lewiston –The Lewiston School Department has failed to adequately serve students of color and students with disabilities, according to the ACLU of Maine, Disability Rights Maine and Kids Legal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance. In a letter to the superintendent of the Department, the groups shared the results of a two-year-long investigation into race and disability accommodations in the Lewiston schools. According to the letter, the Department is in ...Read More

Caged In: The Devastating Harms of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners with Physical Disabilities

From  "This report provides a first-ever national ACLU account of the suffering prisoners with physical disabilities experience in solitary confinement. It spotlights the dangers for blind people, Deaf people, people who are unable to walk without assistance, and people with other physical disabilities who are being held in small cells for 22 hours a day or longer, for days, months, and even years. Solitary confinement is a punishing environment that endangers the well-being of people with physical disabilities and often violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report’s revelations about the particular harms of solitary on people with physical ...Read More


Save the Date!

2017 HOPE Conference “Strive to Thrive; Not Just Survive” May 31, 20178:00 AM to 4:00 PM Augusta Civic Center76 Community DriveAugusta, Maine 04330 For information on partial scholarships please call Paula at 430.8300. For information on volunteering please call Alicia at 622.5736. Download Save the Date Flyer (PDF) Coming in March: Conference Facebook page and electronic brochures to be available on CCSM website and MAPSRC Facebook page. ...Read More

Maine Voters with Disabilities: We want to hear your stories!

Voters with disabilities have the right to vote independently and privately, just like all other citizens. Disability Rights Maine wants to hear your stories about problems you might have had when voting or trying to vote in the recent election. Some common problems include: Accessing polling facilities (i.e. parking spaces, ramps, doorways) Getting assistance with voting at the polls or town offices Completing forms for registration, absentee ballots   If you have experienced any issues related to being a voter with a disability during the recent election, Disability Rights Maine would like to talk to you now.  To tell us ...Read More

Survey Participation Request

From the Americans with Disabilities Act Participatory Action Research Consortium (ADA-PARC):"We would like to invite you to participate in a national survey titled, Transportation Access and Experiences, which is designed to improve understanding of accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities. This survey is being conducted by the ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA-PARC), a collaborative research project of ADA Regional Centers (PIs: Lex Frieden and Joy Hammel). This project focuses on community living, community participation & work/economic participation disparities of people with disabilities (For more information, visit the website: We would like to improve our understanding on ...Read More

Read: Locked Up and Locked Down

WASHINGTON – Between 80,000 and 100,000 inmates are currently segregated in prison cells nationwide for 22-24 hours per day, for days, months, years, and in some cases decades at a time. Segregation disproportionately affects inmates with mental illness and research shows that individuals may acquire symptoms of mental illness, or experience exacerbated symptoms of mental illness, as a result of the conditions in segregation. Today, the Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Prison Project, in partnership with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and the federally mandated protection and advocacy (P&A) agencies in over 20 states across the country ...Read More

Read: Making Hard Time Harder

June 22, 2016 More than 600,000 inmates with disabilities in prisons across the country spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities, according to research. Today, Amplifying Voices of Prisoners with Disabilities (AVID), a project of Disability Rights Washington, released Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The report outlines lack of accommodations for inmates with disabilities. “People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” says Mark Stroh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Washington. “In drafting this report, we have found that inmates with disabilities ...Read More

SNAPSHOT: Maine's Mental Health System - Survey

Take a moment to share your thoughts on mental health services in Maine.  We want to hear about your experiences ~ your input is important! (function(t,e,s,n){var o,c,a;t.SMCX=t.SMCX||[],e.getElementById(n)||(o=e.getElementsByTagName(s),c=o[o.length-1],a=e.createElement(s),a.type="text/javascript",a.async=!0,,a.src=["https:"===location.protocol?"https://":"http://",""].join(""),c.parentNode.insertBefore(a,c))})(window,document,"script","smcx-sdk"); ...Read More

Watch DRM's ADA Anniversary Videos!

To celebrate this milestone, DRM worked with Fieldstone Media to produce two videos that commemorated this landmark legislation and its positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities in Maine.  DRM is pleased to be able to share the videos with you, and we hope you enjoy watching and listening to these stories! <span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span> Click Here to Subscribe to DRM's YouTube Channel ...Read More


DHHS pushes for separate psych center for inmates

DRM attorney Kevin Voyvodich was interviewed for a story that appeared on WCHS Channel 6 regarding the Maine Department of Health and Services' plan for creating a new psychiatric facility specifically for Maine’s forensic patients. ...Read More

How to tap the potential of employees with disabilities

Rick Langley, Deputy Director, shares his thoughts on the employment of people with disabilities and how Maine seems to be moving in the right direction. "It's exciting to talk about diversity in the workplace, because it feels like there is a movement happening in Maine," says Langley. "There seems to be an increasing investment — by chambers of commerce, local business groups and businesses themselves — to develop workplaces that reflect the best of Maine." To read the full article, available on, click the link below. ...Read More

Take Part in the "Maine Access Mapathon"!

This year marks an important anniversary - the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To commemorate the passage of this landmark civil rights law, Disability Rights Maine and the ADA Coalition of Maine are embarking on a "Maine Access Mapathon" project to map the accessibility of our cities and towns.As we engage in a year of activities aimed at enforcement, education, and coalition building, this Mapathon is part of our outreach to communities to highlight access issues locally. By partnering with individuals throughout Maine, we hope to start conversations and spark change in how our cities and towns ...Read More

DRM Awarded State Grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making!

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a formal method of decision-making in which a person can designate trusted individuals who can help them process information and work through decisions. SDM offers an alternative to guardianship, which would otherwise completely usurp the person’s autonomy and civil rights. DRM's grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making is to fund a yearlong outreach project, with the possibility of an extension in year two, to educate individuals and provide resources to the community on Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship. DRM, alongside 9 other community leaders will be developing materials and providing training ...Read More

Maine Bill Would Phase Out Lower Wages for Disabled

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican state Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta, has introduced legislation to phase out a state law that allows employers to pay disabled workers a wage lower than the state minimum wage. He says the law, which he describes as paying people "pennies on the dollar," just isn't fair."This is really a vestige going back to, really, before the Second World War," Katz says. "The idea was to try to get disabled people - physically or mentally disabled folks - employed primarily in sheltered workshops, and it was a good idea at the time. But we have come ...Read More

Monmouth Woman Denied Interpreter Prevails in Discrimination Case

AUGUSTA — When June Ellis of Monmouth, who’s deaf, requested an interpreter so that she could fully participate in a Living Well for Better Health course offered by Spectrum Generations, she was told there was no money available in the budget. Instead, the Augusta-based agency on aging bought a speech recognition software program and instructed workshop facilitators to use easels to write comments and seat Ellis where she would be able to lip read. It wasn’t enough, according to the Maine Human Rights Commission. On Monday, commissioners voted 4-0 to find reasonable grounds to believe Ellis, now 71, was a ...Read More