Conference Agenda

Special – Sunday, June 2

12:00pm – 5:00pm

New Legal Managers Orientation

Designed for new or nearly new P&A managers of legal work, including legal directors, litigation directors, managing and supervisory attorneys. Using facilitated discussion, issues of importance to P&A legal practice management to promote the delivery of quality legal advocacy services pursuant to the P&A statutes and application of the P&A Standards will be highlighted.

Monday, June 3


Institutes are intensive, day-long trainings that focus on a core area of disability rights, emerging issues or P&A management. Click on the titles below to read a full description.

8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Employment Institute: Broader Employment Options for People with Disabilities

Opportunities to help people prepare for and find work are greater than one might think. Learn what services and supports exist besides VR, such as Ticket to Work, American Job Centers, and DOL apprenticeships. In addition, learn how policies drive nontraditional services to help people become fully employed and self-sufficient.

I&R Institute

Information and Referral (I&R) departments are a virtual front door for the Protection and Advocacy System and a crucial foundation for its work. As individual, structural and systemic barriers to personal autonomy increase, so does the dependence on I&R to understand and enforce clients’ rights, with most clients exclusively receiving I&R services. This session explores modernizing I&R departments to meet growing needs and a faster pace of receiving and using information. Discussion will include call management, file creation, client communication, cultural humility, DAD, self-care, and case closure. Our goal is to start reimagining modern intake, I&R, and short-term assistance.

Legal Directors Meeting

P&A legal managers have challenging and complicated roles in providing visionary leadership to P&A legal programs and managing the delivery of quality legal advocacy services. The annual full-day Legal Director’s Meeting provides a setting for senior P&A legal managers (including legal directors, litigation directors, managing and supervisory attorneys) to participate in facilitated discussions with peers to share common concerns, explore strategies regarding emerging issues and practice unique to the P&As, and consider techniques for maximizing P&A resources.

Monitoring, Investigations, Reporting Institute

This institute will discuss skills and strategies for monitoring a facility or service provider and investigating abuse and neglect. Speakers will also address techniques used to communicate the results of such efforts. A combination of presentations and breakout discussions will be used with a planned focus on institutions, group homes, jails and prisons, juvenile justice facilities, and migrant detention centers. A follow-up session later in the conference will discuss the use of public reports after a monitoring or investigation. Participants will be expected to have a basic understanding of the P&A access authority prior to the institute. A training on P&A Access is available on the TASC website.

Systemic Education Advocacy Institute

Special education advocacy based on the cases coming in can feel overwhelming, leading to a sense of not accomplishing systemic change. This session will look at ways to develop a systemic approach to special education advocacy–restructuring your special education advocacy efforts, and using administrative advocacy and litigation to achieve systemic change.

Intro to Accessible Voting Technology

Engage in practical discussion of voting systems, including a rundown of market-ready voting machines, real talk about how each system does or doesn’t meet the needs of voters with disabilities, and access for voters with limited English proficiency. Participants will go off-site to visit the National Federation of the Blind after lunch and interact with voting machines hands on.

Tuesday, June 4


Workshops are 90 minute training sessions focusing on specific disability rights topics and led by an expert(s) in the field. Workshops and times are subject to change as planning continues. Click on the sessions below for descriptions of the workshops.

Session A: 8:30 am - 10:00 am

Complex Litigation
(Runs all day Tuesday and 8:30 am – 12:00 pm Wednesday)

Designed for attorneys with 3+ years of practice but limited experience in complex litigation to prepare them to successfully develop and litigate system reform cases. This one and a half days course will emphasize how to conceptualize, develop and strategically approach complex litigation, including establishing a systemic agenda; determining if litigation is the best response to a systemic problem; framing the case; projecting costs; and identifying legal claims, plaintiffs, defendants, partners, and potential barriers to litigation. Registration is limited to 36 participants.

Employment Rights under the ADA

This session will provide a basic overview of the employment rights under the ADA and its impact on people with disabilities. Specific focus will be placed on an effective understanding of the reasonable accommodation process.

Advocacy and Training to Improve Law Enforcement Interaction with People with Disabilities

Representatives from NDRN, the ARC, and NAMI have participated in local, state and national level projects to improve law enforcement interactions with people with disabilities. Methods include training of advocates and law enforcement personnel, policy revision at the local and state level, and individual technical assistance to problem solve with local law enforcement agencies, among others. Stumbling blocks, advocacy and policy tips and techniques will be shared.

Ethical Implications of Maintaining Client-Lawyer Relationship

The mission, philosophy, and values of the P&A System place P&As at the forefront of providing legal services and representation to clients whose capacity to provide client direction and input may be diminished. Using common P&A case scenarios, explore the application of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and identify steps for maintaining a client’s involvement, and considerations to support informed decision-making for clients with diminished capacity.

Make an Impact Through Public Reports

Public reports can be an effective way to impact the treatment and services provided to people with disabilities following a P&A abuse and neglect investigation or monitoring. Learn ways to develop and publicize a public report, avoid or manage potential pitfalls, and ensure confidentiality in order to achieve improvements for people with disabilities.

Medicaid Assessment and Enrollment Challenges

In Medicaid programs across the country, Waivers are a battleground. This workshop will use audience sharing and other interactive methods to reveal some of the common ways states employ budget and service limits, assessment tools and waitlists to deny or reduce coverage, and discuss advocacy and legal strategies for challenging them.

P&A/CAP Orientation

Are you new to the P&A/CAP system? Is this your first TASC conference? Then this workshop is for you! Learn the history of the P&A system and broaden your perspective to the national nature of our network. Ask questions of your peers and identify resources available to you from TASC and NDRN.

Special Education Volunteer Advocates

Special Education Volunteer Advocates (SEVA) is a program to train volunteers to make families more effective self-advocates. The curriculum was developed by SPAN—the NJ parent training center, Disability Rights NJ, and the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities.

General Session: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

The Power of the P&A

Each year, NDRN invites distinguished guests to discuss, debate and celebrate cutting-edge issues in the fight for disability rights. This plenary session will focus on how the unique authorities granted to the P&As by Congress are a powerful tool for advocacy. Check back soon for speaker information.

Session B: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Challenging and Remedying Correctional Practices – Part I

This session is the first of two sessions focusing on issues involving P&As who work in the prison system. Session 1 will include information on investigating conditions within correctional facilities, deciding what claims to include under either Sec. 1983 or the ADA, using P&A status to defeat issues of class certification and avoid exhaustion requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and discussing specifics of the Alabama and Indiana cases.

Conducting Death Investigations

P&A involvement to protect persons with disabilities against death from abuse or neglect is a most critical function of the P&A’s authority. This session will lay out the steps and best practices for conducting a death investigation, from developing an investigative plan, to dealing with barriers and writing a report.

Continuing Issues in VR – Part I

A variety of issues repeatedly emerge during the vocational rehabilitation (VR) process. This two-part session discusses some of the year’s “hot topics” as identified by the presenters. Participants will interact with the presenters to discuss problematic issues and learn ways to address them.

Incorporating Values and Principles Into Your Daily Practice

As advocates, we use multiple strategies to promote rights enforcement, independence, and inclusion of people with disabilities. We invite you to take a step back from our day-to-day activities and think about how to keep our values and principles central to our work. Glean practical examples of how several P&As strive for this balance.

Olmstead and Medicaid Year in Review

This session will provide an overview of Medicaid and Olmstead cases. Speakers will discuss the year’s hot topics, including the latest on Olmstead legal defenses and Medicaid private enforcability, as well as potential new legal threats.

Update on Restraint and Seclusion

All too often students with disabilities suffer needless restraint or seclusion (R&S). This session will look at three efforts to reduce R&S: legal strategies in R&S cases; federal efforts to limit R&S through the Keeping all Students Safe Act; and successful efforts to get a bill through the state legislature.

Voting, PAVA, and Self-Advocates: A Way Forward

GoVoter Project (of Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, SABE) invites you to attend a strategic planning workshop to explore the future of the GoVoter Project. Project leadership will collect input from attendees on their needs for PAVA training and technical assistance (T/TA) regarding voter access for people with cognitive disabilities.

Session C: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Challenging and Remedying Correctional Practices – Part II

This is the second of two sessions focusing on issues involving P&As who work in the prison system. Session 2 will include information on negotiating a settlement agreement or preparing and conducting a liability trial and follow-up remedial hearings, monitoring in either a private or court-appointed capacity, establishing and filing for contempt, and how to balance the challenges associated with large prison cases.

Continuing Issues in VR – Part II

A variety of issues repeatedly emerge during the vocational rehabilitation (VR) process. This two-part session discusses some of the year’s “hot topics” as identified by the presenters. Participants will interact with the presenters to discuss problematic issues and learn ways to address them.

P&A Staff Self-Care

The work of the P&A can be very taxing on the mind and body. During this session, we will discuss why self-care is important, and brainstorm some “self-ish” ways to take care of ourselves so that we can carry out the mission of the P&A network.

Recognizing Denial of Medicaid Due Process

Presenters in this session will review due process requirements, discuss some of the ways that managed care practices can make it hard to recognize due process rights are triggered, and discuss case law challenging failure to provide due process in both fee for service and managed care.

Sexual Consent Issues in a “Me Too” World

Concern about victimization and discriminatory beliefs may prevent adults with disabilities from enjoying the benefits of romantic and sexual expression. How can P&As advocate appropriately for clients, starting during the special education transition period through their life span, in a manner that both protects the rights of their clients and permits the dignity of risk, without protecting client’s safety?

Supreme Court and Circuit Court Update

This session provides an overview of Supreme Court decisions from the current term and recent Circuit Court decisions. Cases focus on disability and related civil rights, as well as access issues to the federal courts that impact litigation on behalf of people with disabilities.

Voter Registration: How to Engage Self-Advocates

Want to celebrate National Voter Registration Day (NVRD)? Have PADD Board and PAIMI Council members wishing to be more “hands on”? Learn how Kentucky P&A worked with self-advocates to launch a statewide effort for NVRD. Hear about project specifics, lessons learned, and laying the foundation for a sustainable project.

Wednesday, June 5

Session D: 8:30 am - 10:00 am

Achieving Innovative Settlements

This session will cover strategies for achieving outcome-focused settlements in education cases based on experiences in systemic class actions in Ohio and California. Topics include using experts and data to identify problems; negotiating an outcome-focused settlement; and identifying, monitoring and achieving outcome targets in settlements.

Complex Litigation II
(Day 2 will run from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm)

Designed for attorneys with 3+ years of practice but limited experience in complex litigation to prepare them to successfully develop and litigate system reform cases. This one and a half days course will emphasize how to conceptualize, develop and strategically approach complex litigation, including establishing a systemic agenda; determining if litigation is the best response to a systemic problem; framing the case; projecting costs; and identifying legal claims, plaintiffs, defendants, partners, and potential barriers to litigation. Registration is limited to 36 participants.

Effective PATBI Advocacy

PATBI is the smallest of the Federal P&A Programs, however almost 2 million people sustain a TBI annually. As a small program there is a need to the reach out to TBI partners in your state/territory to understand the work of those agencies and to find ways to collaborate with them. This session will focus on the 2018 PATBI data and the ways that P&As can collaborate with partners.

Jobs! Training Individuals in Sheltered Employment

Individuals in segregated employment settings may not be aware of employment opportunities outside the facility. Learn how P&A staff are informing individuals in congregate facilities of benefits of real jobs with real wages.

Look Up, Look Down: Managing from the Middle

Are you a mid- or senior-level manager in you agency? Would you like to build your knowledge and skills about how to manage up, across and down in your agency? If you answer yes to either of these questions, this is the session for you. This session will introduce participants to the power of middle managers, explore challenges and solutions for the 360 degree leader in leading up, down and across as well as provide an opportunity to work through a scenario utilizing information from the session.

Protection and Advocacy for Disasters and Emergencies

The Protection and Advocacy  Network is a vital asset amongst national efforts to secure disability inclusive disaster protections. This interactive workshop will feature brief presentations from panelists  highlighting the importance of P&A involvement with  emergency issues as well as robust conversations on approaches that foster meaningful collaborations and provide crucial disaster support.

The Changing Landscape for Service and Emotional Support Animals

Confusion among people with disabilities about service animals and assistance animals and push back from public accommodations, housing providers and airlines continue to make the news. This session will explain the different rules for different places. It will also discuss likely changes by the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The session will also discuss new state misrepresentation laws.

Update on Public Policy – Part I

This session will review legislative and regulatory actions that affect the P&A and CAP Network as well as people with disabilities that both have occurred and are ongoing. We will also look forward to other legislation and regulations that could be considered over the remainder of 2019.

Session E: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

ABLE Accounts and Disability Benefits

ABLE Accounts offer individuals with disabilities an opportunity to change quality of life experiences related to employment, education and community integration. Learn what is involved in opening, managing and growing an ABLE account, and understand how these tax-advantaged saving accounts interact with public benefits to increase self-determination, productivity, health, wellness and independence.

Challenging Guardianship through Supported Decision-Making and Other Means

The interest in Supported Decision-Making (SDM) continues to grow across the country. This session will consider ways to avoid, remove, or limit a guardianship or conservatorship by promoting the use of SDM through advocacy. The presenters also will provide an update of recent SDM developments in the United States.

Obtaining Effective Transition Services

This session will explore advocacy strategies to secure better services based on individual student needs. We will hear strategies from two states. One will discuss a cross system approach that includes collaboration with state agencies responsible for transition aged youth. The other will discuss successful litigation to obtain appropriate transition services.

Policy Update, Part II, With a Focus on 2020 Census and Voting

The first part of this session will complete the discussion from the Public Policy Part 1 Session. The second part of the session will focus on the impact of, policy discussions around, and strategies to increase participation of individuals with disabilities in the 2020 Census and election cycle.

Services for Survivors of Crimes with Disabilities

People with disabilities who are victims of crime often do not receive adequate support. P&As can use VOCA and VAWA grant dollars to meet this need. We will discuss the specific needs of crime victims with disabilities, why this work is important & how P&As can integrate these funds with other P&A programs.

Strategic Considerations when Pursuing Remedies after Abuse & Neglect

P&As must consider a number of factors such as available resources, systemic impact, timeliness, and the political climate when deciding how to address identified abuse or neglect. This session will focus on the pros and cons of the available avenues, specifically public reports v. litigation. Presenters will share lessons learned and tips, strategies, and suggestions when deciding the remedies to pursue after an investigation, especially in regards to ICF/DD and psychiatric facilities.

Update on Federal Activities

It’s been a year of change in the administration of the P&A federal programs. Join the staff of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Rehabilitation Services Adminstration (RSA) in a discussion about changes in the programs and opportunities for P&A collaboration. The workshop will provide ample opportunity for interaction with program officers.

Session F: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Beyond Checking the Box: 8 Strategies to Increase Diversity and Inclusion

We serve clients with very different backgrounds and needs, working to accommodate them daily. We must also be sure we are doing the same for our staff. This session will go into how to ensure our work environments are inclusive for the diverse staff of the P&A.

Challenging the Adequacy of State Olmstead Plans

Any P&A filing an Olmstead case can anticipate that their state will respond with a dazzling list of activities it has already accomplished consistent with its Olmstead plan. Our panelists will discuss how P&As can lift the smokescreen and show that the state must do more before it can claim its Olmstead compliance efforts are moving at a reasonable pace.

Discipline Issues Update

As they change, so must we… Learn techniques and strategies to thwart new school district methods to remove children with disabilities from school, and help kids get back to class with the services they need to be successful.

P&A Access and Standing Update – Part I

This two part open floor discussion will highlight recent federal cases, the advantages and disadvantages of P&A associational standing, and address frequent P&A access issues. Part One will focus on associational standing and begin to discuss P&A access. Participants are encouraged to possess a basic understanding of the P&A access authority prior to the session. An online P&A access training is available on the TASC webpage.

RSA Update: VR/CAP

RSA (Rehabilitation Services Administration) staff will provide an update on several CAP/VR-related issues. Topics will include issues related to the implementation of WIOA.

Using Communication to Support Advocacy

Building awareness and support for the network’s work is critical. This workshop will review communication advocacy strategies that will amplify the work of your P&A. Topics to be discussed will include public relations, media outreach and social media promotion.

Veterans’ Issues in P&A Advocacy

Veterans with disabilities are being seen in ever-increasing numbers in the P&A network. This session will include information on the unique culture that pervades veteran work. Additionally, the session will address access to service, veterans benefits (VR&E), and including veterans in PATBI services.

Session G: 3:30 pm - 5:00pm

Accommodating People with Disabilities During Legal Proceedings

“Justice” is only a word when the judicial system is inaccessible. Attorneys who use Section 504 and Title II of the ADA in court proceedings will review rights protection for people with disabilities in that space: victim interviews, interrogation, trials/hearings, disposition hearings, and more.

Challenging a State’s Fundamental Alteration Defense

Panelists will discuss the key elements courts have considered when determining whether a state has a valid fundamental alteration defense to an Olmstead claim.

Managing Yourself First: Understanding Your Emotional Intelligence

Today’s workplace demands leaders who are accountable for their actions. Since our thoughts inform our actions, leaders must understand their own motivations and thought processes. Learn to better communicate, manage and influence your staff by first better understanding your own emotional intelligence.

Interviewing PWD Under Challenging Conditions

One of the highest values of the P&A is unwavering commitment to the person with a disability. It can be challenging to learn about a person depending on the setting, the person’s communication style, or the other people who are present while conducting an interview. NDRN staff will share tips and strategies to conduct interviews respectfully.

P&A Access and Standing Update – Part II

Part Two of this session will continue the open discussion of P&A access authority issues begun during Part One (P&A associational standing will only be discussed during Part One). Participants are encouraged to possess a basic understanding of the P&A access authority prior to the session. An online P&A access training is available on the TASC webpage.

Strategies to Guide Individuals with MI through VR

Successfully navigating the VR process can sometimes be especially difficult for individuals who happen to have a mental health diagnosis. This session will include a discussion of commonly encountered barriers and strategies to address them.

Voter Suppression 101: How to Blame Disability

Discuss tactics to suppress voter turnout through misuse of disability rights law. Explore cases of polling place closures blamed on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and prosecution of minority voters assisting people with disabilities. Workshop will include effective messaging and media strategy to win public support on voter suppression.

Thursday, June 6

Session H: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Intersectionality: LGBT+/Disability

When one has both a disability and is openly LGBT+ the identity of the client is intersectional, therefore, the advocacy strategies will likely change. The workshop will identify the components of intersectionality in general then address how the LGBT+ and disability intersection manifest itself in everyday P&A work.

PABRP Update

NDRN, the National Association Grantee, will provide an overview of Rep Payee Project Grant Year 1 and a road map for the future of the grant. NDRN will answer questions from P&As about implementation of the project.

Skills for New Supervisors

This session is designed to offer basic skills for excelling in management.

Trueblood: Litigation, Leg and Community Organization

Trueblood et. al. is a class action lawsuit that enforces a person’s constitutional right to a timely competency evaluation and restoration services. Learn how to build trust and break down barriers with class members who have endured significant trauma and are often multiply marginalized. Glean strategies for diverting class members from the criminal justice system into treatment and support.

Video Remote Interpreting in Hospital/Medical Settings

Individuals who are deaf, and their advocates, contend that Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), though increasingly used in medical settings, is often not providing effective communications for patients and family members who are deaf. A representative of NAD and a P&A attorney handling these cases will discuss effective strategies to ensure that individuals who are deaf are provided effective communications as required by the ADA.

Using Endrew F Effectively

The Supreme Court’s decision in Endrew F. called for higher expectations for students with disabilities. However, too often lower court decisions simply gloss over the decision. This session will explore alternate legal arguments to implement Endrew F. more effectively, as well as advocacy efforts one state is using at IEP meetings.

Writing Effective IPE’s

A well-written Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is the foundation of the VR process. What does a good IPE look like? What “red flags” should you be looking for when reviewing them? This session will help to unlock the mysteries of this critical document.

General Session: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Unpopular Progress: Protecting the Civil Rights Case for Disability

Each year, NDRN invites distinguished guests to discuss, debate and celebrate cutting-edge issues in the fight for disability rights. Check back soon for more information about the 2019 General Sessions.

Session I: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Advocacy to Enforce the HCBS Settings Rule

HCBS plays a critical role in ensuring community integration. During this session, attendees will review promising P&A practices for ensuring full enforcement of the HCBS Settings rule, as well as tips for responding to threats that could undermine effective enforcement.

Advocating for Migrant Children with Disabilities

This practitioner-focused session will provide information that P&A staff working with migrant children need to negotiate the layers of overlapping jurisdiction. The session will review legal rights and provide access/ practice tips to help advocate successfully within Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) settings. Key elements of the settlement in Flores vs Reno, which sets out the legal rights of unaccompanied minors, will be provided.

Post-Litigation Planning

“You’ve won/settled your case, now what?” The steps that you take after litigation can oftentimes determine the outcome of the issue. This session focuses on post-litigation issues including: monitoring of settlement agreements, working with co-counseling agreements outside litigation, negotiating fee arrangements, and continuing the momentum that you’ve gained with a good case result.

P&A Initiated Reviews and Quick Response Checks

In addition to the Rep Payee reviews assigned in the grant awards, P&As are also tasked with completing Quick Response Checks assigned by SSA. Then, P&As are expected to nominate Rep Payees for reviews based on reports of financial exploitation from the P&A’s community. This session will equip attendees with strategies for balancing these demands and managing the workload to ensure forward progress and long-term success for the program.

Wage and Hour Complaints

Payment of sub-minimum wages to individuals with disabilities is limited under WIOA. DOL is taking their responsibility to oversee Section 511 requirements seriously and are holding themselves and certificate holders accountable. Discover what they have done in terms of monitoring and what they are finding in their agency reviews.

Session J: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Conducting Payee and Beneficiary Interviews

P&As are assigned hundreds of Representative Payee and beneficiary interviews spanning their entire state. There is an art to asking questions and interpreting financial records to identify potential misuse and immediate harm to beneficiaries. P&As will share lessons learned from interviews during Grant Year 1.

Developing Agreements to Promote Juvenile Justice Diversion of Youth with Disabilities

Agreements with government can be used to prevent incarceration of youth with disabilities on a systemic level. Informed by the work of P&A recipients on the Ford Misincarceration grant project, this session will cover what P&As, planning to or working with government, need to know to create a successful diversion project.

Legal Ethics: Working with Clients Exhibiting Challenging Behaviors

An essential part of P&A advocacy is representing clients with challenging behaviors, diminished capacity, or who demonstrate other characteristics or symptoms that can interfere with the attorney-client relationship. This session will address strategies that can help P&As preserve the principle of providing client-directed advocacy services, consider the application of relevant Rules of Professional Responsibility, and discuss case scenarios common to P&A advocacy.

OFCCP’s Role in Increasing Employment

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities by covered Federal contractors and requires affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. New regulations provide guidance to evaluate compliance and proactively identify and correct deficiencies in employment practices. Learn how advocates can help contractors achieve required goals.