The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) program was the first Protection and Advocacy (P&A) program authorized, as a part of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975. PADD is funded through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the Administration on Community Living.
The original objective of PADD was to ensure that children and adults with developmental disabilities who lived in institutional settings were not being abused or neglected. As a result of the civil rights movement for persons with disabilities, expectations have shifted from institutionalization and segregation, to an expectation of community integration and participation, and economic self-sufficiency. The work of the PADD program has expanded to meet these new expectations. People with developmental disabilities are now living, working, and participating in the community. So, the PADD program focuses on both ensuring persons with developmental disabilities living in institutions and the community are not being abused or neglected and people are receiving the supports and services that make community living, economic self-sufficiency, and integration a long-term reality. To make this happen, persons with developmental disabilities must have access to high-quality education, health care, family supports, housing, employment, and transportation. PADD’s advocacy has played a major role in ensuring that people with developmental disabilities are able to live in their community, in the homes of their choice.
Funding for the PADD program has not kept up with inflation. Indeed, despite increased demand for services, PADD has barely seen an increase in funding since 2008. PADD is currently funded at almost $41 million, which does not allow the program to meet the demands for people with developmental disabilities.
NDRN recommends a funding level of $44.0 million for Fiscal Year 2020
Current Program Responsibilities
The PADD program continues to primarily focus on ensuring safe living conditions in remaining institutions, effective community monitoring so people with developmental disabilities can live in their community without being abused or neglected, and the availability of appropriate services and supports, such as education and health care.
Community Integration and Monitoring
The United States Supreme Court reinforced federal policy that encourages the delivery of supports and services in the most integrated setting in Olmstead v. L.C. (527 U.S. 581). For individuals with developmental disabilities who want to live in the community, federal initiatives such as Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers, Money Follows the Person and Balance Incentive Payments, and the growth of federally funded housing options have expanded this possibility. These praiseworthy initiatives help move service systems away from institutional-based models to those that ensure greater independence, and community participation. However, as opportunities for independent living in the community have increased, the challenges of community monitoring to ensure the appropriateness and safety of living arrangements has also increased. The PADD program has assisted in moving people with developmental disabilities into the community and ensuring these individuals are not being abused or neglected, have access to quality supports and services, and are not being discriminated against in the areas of education, employment, transportation and housing.
Too many students with developmental disabilities continue to face discrimination in the form of low expectations by school personnel, resulting in inadequate and inappropriate educational services for students with developmental disabilities. Parents of children with developmental disabilities have few resources to help them understand and navigate the education system. PADD staff work with students, families, and education personnel to ensure students receive the supports and services they are entitled to receive under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Increasingly, PADD resources are being spent to address the use of restraint and seclusion that has resulted in serious emotional trauma, physical injury, and in some cases death of children with disabilities in school. Congress has a direct stake in ensuring the safety of and successful outcomes for students with developmental disabilities so they become economically self-sufficient and can live and participate in their communities.
The PADD program has been highly successful, but is limited by its current resources. In order to meet the requirements of its directives and advocate on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, additional funding is critical.