History and Overview
In response to the public outcry about the abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities in institutional care, in 1975 the U.S. Congress mandated the creation of “Protection and Advocacy” (P&A) agencies in every state and territory.
The purpose of this nationwide system is to provide for the protection of and advocacy for the legal, civil, and human rights of people disabilities.
P&A agencies have unique authority to enforce both state and federal laws concerning the rights and benefits of individuals with disabilities. This authority includes initiating investigations of abuse and neglect in institutions, community settings, or programs that serve individuals with disabilities.
All P&A agencies maintain a presence in facilities that care for people with disabilities, where they monitor, investigate and attempt to remedy adverse conditions. P&A agencies also have the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under all federal and state laws, to all people with disabilities. These agencies devote considerable resources to ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, accessible housing, and productive employment opportunities.
The Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) is designated as the State of Alaska’s P&A agency. With offices in Anchorage and Juneau, DLC provides legally based advocacy to people with disabilities throughout Alaska.