Protection & Advocacy System Programs

Federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems in each state and territory provide protection of the rights of persons with disabilities through legally based advocacy. The Kentucky P&A gets federal funding through seven federal grant programs which are outlined below.

Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) created by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (DD) Act of 1975 requires P&As to pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies under all applicable federal and state laws to protect and advocate for the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities
administered by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) established by the PAIMI Act of 1986, agencies mandated to
protect and advocate for the rights of people with mental illness; and investigate abuse and neglect in facilities that care for or treat individuals with mental illness. administered by the Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) established by Congress as a national program under the Rehabilitation Act in 1993 established to protect and advocate for the legal and human rights of persons not covered by other programs – such as those with visual or hearing impairments or those with physical disabilities acquired as an adult administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education

Protection & Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) created in 1994 when Congress expanded the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (Tech Act) established to “assist individuals with disabilities and their family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives in accessing technology devices and assistive technology services” through case management, legal representation, and self-advocacy training administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education

Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) created by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 established to assist social security beneficiaries with disabilities in obtaining information and advice about receiving vocational rehabilitation and employment services; and to provide advocacy or other related services that beneficiaries may need to secure or regain gainful employment administered by the Social Security Administration

Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) created by the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act authorized as part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000 provides advocacy services, information and referral, and self-advocacy training to individuals who face a loss of legal rights as a direct result of TBI; and works to increase and improve systems of support for people impacted by TBI administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Protection & Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) created in 2002 when Congress enacted the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
P&As seek to secure election access for a wide range of individuals with disabilities – including, but not limited to, individuals with mental, sensory, and physical disabilities – pursuant to Congress’ broad mandate to “ensure the full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities, including registering to vote, casting a vote and accessing polling places”
administered by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Protection and Advocacy concept was initially triggered by a series of local television news broadcasts, which Geraldo Rivera did for the ABC News affiliate in New York City. Rivera's investigative reporting exposed abuse, neglect and lack of programming at Willowbrook, a state institution for people with intellectual disabilities on Staten Island.

These broadcasts galvanized the state's senior senator, Jacob Javitts, to action, incorporating P&A Systems in the renewal of the federal developmental disabilities legislation enacted in 1975. While their mandate was drawn more broadly in the statute, P&A Systems were originally intended to protect people in facilities for people with intellectual disabilities from abuse and neglect.


P&A network video:


history of P&A