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Administration on Developmental Disabilitiesskip to primary page content

State Protection and Advocacy Agencies

State Protection and Advocacy Agencies Systems Fact Sheet

What is the Protection and Advocacy System?
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (also known as the DD Act) provides for a program to support a Protection & Advocacy (P&A) System in each State, Territory, as well as a Native American Consortium, to protect and advocate for persons with developmental disabilities.  All States, Territories, and a Native American Consortium (total of 57) are funded under the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) program that requires the governor to designate a system in the State to empower, protect, and advocate on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities.  This P&A system implementing the PADD program must be independent of service-providing agencies.

What are the Protection and Advocacy Programs?
Although the DD Act provides a mandate for protection and advocacy of persons with developmental disabilities, there are other federal laws with similar mandates to provide protection and advocacy services for similarly vulnerable populations.  Most of these federal laws are administered by other federal agencies outside of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.  These P&A programs require the P&A system designated under the DD Act to implement their program.

The federal P&A programs are:

Federal P&A Program Federal Administering Agency
P&A for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) Administration on Developmental Disabilities Department of Health and Human Services
P&A for Voting Access (PAVA) Administration on Developmental Disabilities Department of Health and Human Services
P&A for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Center for Mental Health Services
Department of Health and Human Services
P&A for Individual Rights (PAIR) Rehabilitation Services Administration Department of Education
P&A for Assistive Technology (PAAT) Rehabilitation Services Administration Department of Education
P&A for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) Social Security Administration
P&A for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) Health Resources & Services Administration
Department of Health and Human Services


What are the Mission and Activities of PADD Programs?
The PADD program provides information and referral services and exercises legal, administrative and other remedies to resolve problems for individuals and groups of clients with developmental disabilities. PADD programs are also mandated to reach out to members of minority groups that historically have been underserved.

The PADD program protects the legal and human rights of all persons with developmental disabilities. The amount of funding for the PADD program in an individual State is based on a formula that takes into account the population, the extent of need for services for persons with developmental disabilities, and the financial need of the State. A PADD program must have the authority to pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies or approaches.

The PADD program in each State has a significant role in enhancing the quality of life of persons with developmental disabilities in every community. The PADD is mandated to:

  • investigate incidents of abuse and neglect, follow up on reports of such incidents, and investigate if there is probable cause to believe that such incidents have occurred; and
  • have access to all client records when given permission by the client or the client's representative authorization and have access records without permission when there is probable cause that abuse or neglect is involved
Each PADD program must provide an annual opportunity for the public to comment on its goals, priorities, and activities. This gives clients with developmental disabilities and others in the community an opportunity to voice their concerns and needs. In order to safeguard the rights of clients and prospective clients, the PADD program must also establish a grievance procedure for individuals who receive or may receive their services.

What is the Funding for the PADD Program?
Funding for the PADD program during the last seven years has been as follows:

Fiscal Year Total PADD Program Funding Awarded by Congress
2008 $39,024,000
2007 $37,943,640
2006 $37,927,750
2005 $38,108,672
2004 $38,416,000
2003 $36,263,000
2002 $35,000,000


How Many People does the PADD Program Serve?

Efforts in Employment in FY2006.  In 39 States and Territories, 343 people with developmental disabilities were assisted in their efforts to obtain and maintain employment consistent with their interests, abilities, and needs.

Efforts in Quality of Life (Preventing Abuse and Neglect) in FY2006.  In 55 States and Territories, 6,084 complaints of abuse, neglect, discrimination of rights were remedied for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Efforts in Health Care in FY2006.  In 46 States and Territories, 1,531 people with developmental disabilities obtained access to affordable health care provided by qualified professionals through advice, advocacy training, legal intervention, and other forms of assistance.

Efforts in Education in FY2006.  In 57 States and Territories, 12,242 students with developmental disabilities gained or maintained access to an array of educational opportunities in their neighborhood schools as a result of work with parents, educators, school administrators, and policy makers.

Efforts in Transportation in FY2006.  In 29 States and Territories, 130 individuals with developmental disabilities gained increased accessibility to public transportation.

Efforts in Personal Decision-Making in FY2006.  In 49 States and Territories, 494 individuals with developmental disabilities were assisted in obtaining and retaining a residence, living where and with whom they choose.

Want more information about the PADD program?
Should you require additional information regarding the PADD program, please contact the any of the following staff at the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD).  Contact information for other ADD staff is available at ADD Staff.

Jackie Ezzell
P&A Team Leader
Jocelin Gridley 202-690-8776
Carla Thomas 202-690-8332
Melvenia Wright 202-690-5557