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Types of Cases DRC Accepts

Priority 1: Serious Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

DRC will provide advocacy, including investigations and monitoring, for the disability rights of Kansans who are at risk of, or have experienced serious abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Advocacy Services under Priority 1: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 1.1: Investigating Serious Abuse or Neglect – Subject to the limitations of staff time and resources, DRC will investigate reported allegations of serious abuse or neglect of Kansans with disabilities.

Objective 1.2: Holding guardians and service providers accountable for abuse and neglect – DRC will provide legally based disability rights advocacy to Kansans with disabilities who are victims of serious abuse or neglect by guardians or service providers.

Objective 1.3: Holding other abusers accountable for abuse and neglect – DRC will provide legally based disability rights advocacy to Kansans with disabilities who are victims of serious abuse or neglect by individuals or entities who are not guardians or service providers.

Objective 1.4: Advocacy for victims of significant fiduciary exploitation – DRC will provide legally based advocacy to Kansans with disabilities who are victims of significant fiduciary exploitation where disability is a major contributing factor of the exploitation.

Priority 2: Community Based Services & Health Care

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans to access community-based services, supports and health care, including Medicaid, Medicare, mental health services, long-term care, assistive technology, independent living and home and community-based services.

Advocacy Services under Priority 2: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 2.1: Advocating for the right to Home and Community-Based (HCBS) Medicaid supports – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to Kansans with disabilities to ensure both access and maintenance of their HCBS (Home and Community-Based Services) Medicaid supports.

Objective 2.2: Advocating for all other Medicaid services and supports – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to Kansas Medicaid beneficiaries and applicants to 1) ensure proper eligibility determinations and household financial calculations and 2) to defend beneficiaries against improper denials of covered Medicaid services and supports (including but not limited to regular medical, rehabilitation services, non-HCBS services, durable medical equipment, assistive technology, etc.).

Objective 2.3: Advocating for mental health services – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to individuals with mental illness who are denied or otherwise having difficulty obtaining the community mental health services to which they are entitled under federal and state law.

Objective 2.4: Safeguarding Medicaid for children and youth under 21 (EPSDT) - DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to children and youth under 21 who are part of the federal EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment), which in Kansas has been called “Kan-Be-Healthy,” to ensure that these individuals receive the full range of benefits to which they are entitled under this program.

Priority 3: Employment

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans who are experiencing barriers to employment.

Advocacy Services under Priority 3: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 3.1: Ensuring employment accommodations – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services for individuals requesting accommodations related to hiring or employment.

Objective 3.2: Fighting against employment discrimination – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services for individuals who have encountered disability discrimination in applying for, maintaining, or achieving success in employment.

Objective 3.3: Advocating for applicants and consumers of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services for Kansans who are either applying for or receiving Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services through Kansas Rehabilitation Services. This can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to advocating for services in the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE), amending the IPE, combating improper denials of VR services, etc.

Priority 4: Community Integration

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans residing in institutions, and other restrictive settings, to assert their right to access appropriate community-based services and supports in the most integrated setting. A focus of the services provided under this priority is to actively ensure that people with disabilities move from institutionally-based long-term care (ICFs-MR, NFMHs, PRTFs, NF’s, etc.) to more inclusive and community based long-term care supports and services, including legal advocacy to close or reduce institutional beds.

Advocacy Services under Priority 4: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority when the person is residing in an institution, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 4.1: Enforcing community integration in non-psychiatric institutions - DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to assist individuals in long term care non-psychiatric institutions (Intermediate Care Facilities for people with Intellectual Disabilities - ICFsMR, Nursing Facilities - NF’s, etc.) to leave those institutions for more integrated, community-based settings, including ensuring effective discharge planning. Included in this objective is legal advocacy to close or reduce the number of institutional beds in these settings.

Objective 4.2: Enforcing community integration in psychiatric institutions – DRC will provide legally based advocacy services to assist individuals in psychiatric institutions (Nursing Facilities for Mental Health - NFMHs, State Psychiatric Hospitals - IMDs, and Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities - PRTFs) to leave those institutions for more integrated, community-based settings, including ensuring effective discharge planning.

Priority 5: Accessibility

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans to remove physical and program barriers to an accessible society by protecting their rights under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), the Rehabilitation Act, voting rights and other applicable disability rights laws.

Advocacy Services under Priority 5: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 5.1: Ensuring Architectural Accessibility – DRC will investigate and provide legally based advocacy for service requests concerning architectural accessibility issues under this priority.

Objective 5.2: Ensuring Accessibility for Kansans with all types of Disabilities – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests regarding all other accessibility issues, such as denial of equal access to programs, services, and higher education (Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Kansas Act Against Discrimination - KAAD, etc.). This objective does not include housing accessibility issues, which are under the housing priority (Priority 7).

Objective 5.3: Representing Voters with Disabilities in HAVA Administrative Appeals (PAVA) – DRC will provide limited legally based advocacy to all people with disabilities who wish to file a administrative appeal under HAVA.

Priority 6: Special Education

DRC will provide advocacy for Kansas students to enforce their right to special education and related services in the least restrictive environment and protect against inappropriate discipline involving behavior, which is a manifestation of the student’s disability.

Advocacy Services under Priority 6: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority (IDEA and Section 504), including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 6.1: Protecting Students from Seclusion and Restraint in Schools – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for students who are subjected to improper use of seclusion and restraint.

Objective 6.2: Protecting students from adverse consequences for behaviors related to disabilities – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for students who are suspended, expelled, or face other adverse consequences for behavior related to disability. Services include representation in manifestation hearings and advocating for PBIS.

Objective 6.3: Stopping Change of Placement to More Restrictive Setting – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for students who are moved to a more restrictive setting due to their disability.

Objective 6.4: Advocacy for Transition Age Youth – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for students who completely lack effective transition services, including but not limited to students who are in foster care. Because there are potentially tens of thousands of students with transition plans, DRC is forced to limit the scope and level of its services in this objective.

Priority 7: Fair Housing

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans whose rights to housing have been violated under the Fair Housing Amendments Act, Rehabilitation Act or other applicable disability housing laws.

Advocacy Services under Priority 7: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 7.1: Overturning or preventing loss of housing due to disability - DRC will provide legally based advocacy for individuals in private and public housing to overturn or prevent evictions (includes 14/30 day notices based on disability, different treatment by the landlord due to the individual’s disability, loss of federal housing subsidy if evicted, etc.).

Objective 7.2: Ensuring Accommodations and Modifications in Housing - DRC will provide legally based advocacy for individuals living in or applying to live in private and public housing who have been denied reasonable accommodations or reasonable modifications.

Priority 8: Accountability of Guardians & Other Legal Decision Makers

DRC will provide advocacy for the disability rights of Kansans to pursue alternatives to guardianship/conservatorship, to end guardianship/conservatorship when it is no longer necessary, to change guardians/conservators in cases of abuse or neglect, or to hold other legal decision makers (representative payees, trustees, etc.) accountable for violating the rights of the person with a disability.

Advocacy Services under Priority 8: DRC will provide legally based advocacy for service requests under this priority, including but not limited to the following cases:

Objective 8.1: Preventing Unnecessary Guardianships/Conservatorships – DRC will provide legally based advocacy for individuals who want to challenge imposition of a guardianship/conservatorship when it is clearly not needed, including promoting alternatives.

Objective 8.2: Terminating Existing Guardianships/Conservatorships – DRC will provide legally based advocacy to terminate guardianships/conservatorship for those who are no longer in need of a guardian/conservator.

Objective 8.3: Holding Representative Payees Accountable – DRC will provide legally based advocacy to individuals whose representative payees are failing to act in their best interests as required by the Social Security Act

 

Limitations to DRC’s Priorities

Services are Limited to Providing Disability Rights Advocacy Only – DRC’s legally-based advocacy is specifically for the disability rights of Kansans. That means that the right must be directly related to the person’s disability and granted because of their disability. DRC does not do all types of legal work for people with disabilities. It must be a disability rights issue. DRC does not do the following cases:

  • workers compensation cases,
  • social security eligibility or appeals,
  • divorce cases,
  • legal representation of parents in child custody cases or representation in child in need of care (CINC) cases (except that for children who are designated to be CINCs, DRC can provide the same advocacy opportunities under its priorities as it provides for all other children … however, DRC will not provide legal representation in the actual CINC case or action),
  • criminal defense representation,
  • estate planning or will drafting,
  • or legal representation that does not relate directly to the disability rights of the Kansan, etc.

 

Limitations for Services to the Sexual Predator Treatment Program – Due to funding constraints, DRC limits its services to individuals in the sexual predator treatment program. For individuals whose complaint is with any aspect of the treatment program, DRC limits its services to information and referral only. 

Prioritization of Impact Litigation to Create a Larger Systems Change:
When accepting cases for litigation, DRC will place a priority on impact litigation cases that can create a larger systems change. Individual litigation which will not create systems change can still be accepted, but the priority and preference for case acceptance will be on impact legal representation that can create much larger changes and systems changes. These types cases are defined as follows:

  • Impact Litigation Case to Create Systems Change a litigation case that can have a larger impact on the overall system, in addition to helping the individual or individuals involved. These are individual or group litigation cases that can have a systemic impact)
  • Individual Litigation Case – a litigation case that has a large impact for one person - obtains an important remedy for that person - but will not have a larger impact on overall system)