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Membership Services

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the voluntary membership association for the Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) and Client Assistance Programs (CAPs). NDRN’s mission is to promote the integrity and capacity of the P&A and CAP national network and to advocate for the enactment and vigorous enforcement of laws protecting civil and human rights of people with disabilities.

NDRN counts all 57 P&A agencies among its members, as well as sizable number of the CAPs. NDRN provides it member agencies with a range of services to enhance their capacity including:

arrow Government Affairs

arrow Support for Administration and Management, External Relations and Direct Services

arrow Quality assurance

Organizations dedicated to protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities can join as associate members when sponsored by NDRN, P&A or CAP members in good standing. For more information about any of the membership services please contact

Government Affairs

Image of the U.S. Capitol BuildingIncrease and Maintain P&A/CAP Appropriations

NDRN monitors the appropriations process with regard to P&A and CAP funds as well as advocates for additional sources of funding for new and existing federal programs.

Cost: Free to P&As and CAP programs.

Federal Policy and Legislative Activity to Protect Civil and Human Rights of People with Disabilities

NDRN provides a number of services including:

arrow Track and follow policy actions in both Congress and the Administration and convey information to the membership,

arrow Draft sample responses that can be used by the P&A and CAP agencies in responding to notices of proposed rulemaking,

arrow Plan and accompany NDRN members to the Hill or Executive Branch agency for meetings and discussions with elected representatives as well as agency staff,

arrow Discuss and explain federal requirements and federal restrictions around lobbying and educating policymak¬ers with our members. Also review materials produced by the agency and provide thoughts on its compliance with requirements and restrictions,

arrow Coordinate mentors for NDRN members that have not done policy work before to help guide the member through the process.

Cost: Free to NDRN members.

Administration and Management

Disability Advocacy Database (DAD)

The Disability Advocacy Database (DAD) is a web based system that provides P&A/CAP employees with a customized advocacy services tracking application with focus on federal reporting. In addition to using the employee entered data to complete program performance reports, DAD provides: time entry tracking with timesheet generation allowing for time entries to be tied back to specific advocacy activities. Additional customization and reporting tools give local agencies the ability to identify and track data trends of their agency as well as to include local funding sources for use.

Cost: NDRN offers DAD as a hosted product or local install option based on an annual subscription rate that is based on agency size and hosted vs. local install.

Complete Equity Markets

Complete Equity Markets (CEM) is the exclusive broker for NDRN sponsored Professional Liability Insurance Services to the P&A Network, tailoring solutions to insurance needs and requests of NDRN member organiza¬tions. Basic policy coverages include professional liability, personal injury liability, disciplinary proceedings costs, and, recently added, data security breach. Optional coverages available include Management Errors and Omissions, Employment Practices, Criminal Defense Contempt Defense, Injunctive Relief Defense, Private Bar Delivery, Punitive Damages, and Discovery Defense Costs.

Contact: Carla Sandersfeld, CEM,; Phone: (847) 541-0900 Toll-Free: (800) 323-6234 Direct: (847) 777-7449.

Cost: Premiums negotiated individually for each agency based on factors such as risk indicators, claims experience and deductibles.

Executive Director Search Firm

NDRN can act as the search firm for member agencies in their recruitment of a new Executive Director. In this capacity, NDRN will modify its service to meet the needs of the P&A and its hiring committee. Generally, this entails a dedicated NDRN staff person to:

arrow Work with the hiring committee or Board of Directors to describe the position including selection criteria and launch the search,

arrow Identify candidates from inside your networks as well as P&A and other national networks,

arrow Screen candidates to present strongest candidates to board,

arrow Manage logistics of the search so that your volunteers don’t have to while maintaining a distance from staff,

arrow Assist in developing interview questions and evaluating candidates from a broader perspective, and

arrow Check references

Cost: The cost of this service is dependent on the level of service required.

BoardSource Membership

NRDN has partnered with BoardSource to provide additional governance support to the P&A Network that can be accessed directly. BoardSource membership opportunities include:

arrow Access to BoardSource’s governance experts via its “Ask an Expert” e-mail customer service and semi-monthly “Ask the Governance Expert” webinars,

arrow Free monthly webinars on important issues affecting board leaders and chief executives,

arrow Monthly editions of an e-newsletter just for BoardSource members,

arrow Member pricing on BoardSource’s live trainings, assessment tools and books,

arrow Personalized support from a member relations liaison who can help identify and select relevant resources and tools, and

arrow Other special benefits of membership,

Cost: Annual Subscription is free. To activate your membership, just visit¬rightsnetwork and complete the membership registration form. Every P&A/CAP program should be listed. If your agency is not in the list, please contact NDRN.

External Relations

Salsa – Communications / Engagement Package

Salsa is an online engagement tool that will allow your agency to fully engage your donors, supporters, and the general public through communication, fundraising requests and calls to action. The use of the Salsa chapter platform will allow you to get a full view of your donor’s activity, response to calls to action and manage commu¬nications. Salsa will not only allow better communication with your supporters but it will also help the Network to respond quickly and more effectively to issues at the national level.

Cost: Email for pricing. For more information go to:


Meltwater is the national leader for news and social media monitoring, media research, list building, and connecting with reporters. The package includes:

arrow news and social media tracking

arrow media list building and email distribution

arrow unlimited training and support

Cost: $1000 per year.

Direct Services

Amicus Involvement

Image of the United States Supreme Court BuildingNDRN, through the NDRN Legal Strategy Subcommittee, coordinates the submission of amicus briefs when disability issues are in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, the highest courts in the states and on rare occasions in intermediate level state courts and federal trial courts.

NDRN assists P&As seeking amicus support for its own cases or in cases the P&As become aware of being litegated by other entities that may have a significant effect on how laws affecting people with disabilities are being interpreted by the Courts.

NDRN can assist in the recruiting of amicus authors and working with the Legal Strategy Subcommittee can work with authors to help ensure that the amicus briefs reflect the values of the P&A network and are of high quality.

NDRN also tracks significant cases involving disability issues and notifies P&As about cases they may want to become involved in as the P&A.

Cost:  Free to NDRN members.

Ethics Consultant Group

The Ethics Consultant Group is comprised of prominent academicians from around the country who have agreed to be available for informal consultation with P&A attorneys on legal ethics/professional responsibility issues that may arise.  The pro bono consultation is informal and does not constitute legal advice, but provides P&A attorneys advisory ethics guidance and an opportunity to think through and strategize regarding the application of rules of professional conduct in thorny P&A practice situations.  

Cost:  Free to NDRN members.

Professional Licensure Continuing Education Credits

NDRN as the sponsoring organization makes available to its members a wide array of professional licensure continuing education options including Continuing Legal Education (CLE) eligible sessions; Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Credits (CRC); and National Association of Social Workers (NASW) approved courses.

Cost:  Included in registration cost for trainings.

Passport to Advocacy Learning

Passport to Advocacy Learning (PAL) offers “credits” in the core principles of advocacy.  PAL credits are assigned to vast majority of trainings.  The focus areas are: communication skills, organizational skills, community organizing, advocacy skills, legal skills, cultural/disability competency skills, technology and electives.PAL provides a structure for advocates and other staff to document and demonstrate a degree of mastery of essential skills key to being a top-notch advocate.  It enables non-legal P&A staff to catalog growth and an emerging expertise.  Upon completion and approval, a certificate is awarded.  PAL is a tool advocates and others can use to make evident a commitment to life-long learning in the advocacy/social justice arena.  Upon completion and approval, a certificate is awarded.

Cost:  Free to NDRN members.

National Red Cross/FEMA Memoranda of Understanding

NDRN has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency , and a Memorandum of Understanding with the American National Red Cross, so NDRN and the P&As can cooperate to carry out their respective responsibilities during preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation operations in the event of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, including catastrophic incidents. Both memorandums discuss steps that the respective agencies will take to better coordinate and collaborate during all parts of the disaster cycle.

Cost:  Free to NDRN members.


NDRN has negotiated deeply discounted rates on a number of publications of interest to its members.

National Disability Law Reporter

The National Disability Law Reporter (NDLR) is published by LRP Publications and is issued bi-weekly, omit¬ting issues in January, April, August and November. This publication provides brief “Legal News” items which discuss significant court decisions, and actions by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal agencies on disability issues. The focus is on court decisions, changes in laws and regulations that affect people with disabilities primarily in employment, education, public accommodations, communications and transportation. The NDLR provides brief summaries of federal court decisions in both the district courts and the Circuit Courts.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Report

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Report (IDELR) is the most up to date complete reference source for special education law. Be among the first to know and learn from cases involving classroom disci¬pline of students with special needs, mediation of disputes, development of effective Individualized Education Programs (IEP), compliance with state standards and more. Use IDELR to formulate your course of action with the full text of major federal statutes and regulations, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) policy rulings, Section 504 policy rulings, federal and state court decisions, and SEA appeals decisions.

Bonus: IDELR Highlights C Your personal briefing on recent developments in special education law and policy. As part of your subscription, you will receive IDELR Highlights. The biweekly Highlights give you time saving summaries of case law, policy letters, and other actions affecting special education law and policy.

Special Education Law Monthly

Special Education Law Monthly provides an update you on the latest case law affecting all aspects of special education programs. It is the perfect complement to Special Ed Connections.

From discipline to evaluations, and from eligibility to related services, you’ll make decisions with confidence knowing you’re on top of the most recent:

arrow Federal and state court rulings

arrow State Educational Agency (SEA) due process hearing decisions

arrow Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Letters of Clarification

arrow Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Letters of Finding

Special Ed Connections

Special Ed Connection7 is the complete Web resource for answers to your special education questions. With 24/7 online access to the latest news and guidance, Special Ed Connection7 has the solutions you and your staff are looking for on:

arrow Section 504

arrow Early Childhood

arrow Behavior & Discipline

arrow Inclusion

arrow Lawsuits & Rulings

arrowAnd so much more

It also, includes daily emails with case highlights, breaking news, and articles of note.


Image of a gavelWestlaw® is an on-line computer assisted legal research subscription service through West Group, a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters Legal Publishing.  It provides access to a vast array of legal information, libraries and databases at both the federal and state levels.  NDRN negotiates a group subscription rate currently with a 5-tiered pricing schedule.  In addition to the databases under the group subscription agreement, member subscribers can
purchase additional state or subject-specific content unique to its location and concentration, if needed.

Quality Assurance

P&A Advocacy Standards

NDRN created a set of Advocacy Standards for the P&A system. The standards can be found at: http://dadsup¬

Peer Organizational Reviews

NDRN uses the P&A Advocacy Standards to coordinate a group of peer P&A staff to review the governance, leadership and management, fiscal operations, and legal program based on the P&A Advocacy Standards. The reviews generate a report that identify strengths and challenges and provide technical assistance.

Cost: Costs are negotiated based on specific requests.