45 CFR 1326.21 - Requirements and authority of the State Protection and Advocacy System.
(a) In order for a State to receive Federal funding for Protection and Advocacy activities under this subpart, as well as for the State Council on Developmental Disabilities activities ( subpart D of this part), the Protection and Advocacy System must meet the requirements of section 143 and 144 of the Act ( 42 U.S.C. 15043 and 15044) and that system must be operational.
(b) Allotments must be used to supplement and not to supplant the level of non-Federal funds available in the State for activities under the Act, which shall include activities on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities to remedy abuse, neglect, and violations of rights as well as information and referral activities.
(c) A P&A shall not implement a policy or practice restricting the remedies that may be sought on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities or compromising the authority of the P&A to pursue such remedies through litigation, legal action or other forms of advocacy. Under this requirement, States may not establish a policy or practice, which requires the P&A to: Obtain the State's review or approval of the P&A's plans to undertake a particular advocacy initiative, including specific litigation (or to pursue litigation rather than some other remedy or approach); refrain from representing individuals with particular types of concerns or legal claims, or refrain from otherwise pursuing a particular course of action designed to remedy a violation of rights, such as educating policymakers about the need for modification or adoption of laws or policies affecting the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities; restrict the manner of the P&A's investigation in a way that is inconsistent with the System's required authority under the DD Act; or similarly interfere with the P&A's exercise of such authority. The requirements of this paragraph (c) shall not prevent P&As, including those functioning as agencies within State governments, from developing case or client acceptance criteria as part of the annual priorities identified by the P&A as described in § 1326.23(c). Clients must be informed at the time they apply for services of such criteria.
(d) A Protection and Advocacy System shall be free from hiring freezes, reductions in force, prohibitions on staff travel, or other policies, imposed by the State, to the extent that such policies would impact system program staff or functions funded with Federal funds, and would prevent the system from carrying out its mandates under the Act.
(e) A Protection and Advocacy System shall have sufficient staff, qualified by training and experience, to carry out the responsibilities of the system in accordance with the priorities of the system and requirements of the Act. These responsibilities include the investigation of allegations of abuse, neglect and representations of individuals with developmental disabilities regarding rights violations.
(f) A Protection and Advocacy System may exercise its authority under State law where the State authority exceeds the authority required by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. However, State law must not diminish the required authority of the Protection and Advocacy System as set by the Act.
(g) Each Protection and Advocacy System that is a public system without a multimember governing or advisory board must establish an advisory council in order to provide a voice for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Advisory Council shall advise the Protection and Advocacy System on program policies and priorities. The Advisory Council and Governing Board shall be comprised of a majority of individuals with disabilities who are eligible for services, have received or are receiving services, parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of such individuals.
(h) Prior to any Federal review of the State program, a 30-day notice and an opportunity for public comment must be published in the Federal Register. Reasonable effort shall be made by AIDD to seek comments through notification to major disability advocacy groups, the State Bar, disability law resources, the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, for example, through newsletters and publication of those organizations. The findings of public comments may be consolidated if sufficiently similar issues are raised and they shall be included in the report of the onsite visit.
(i) Before the Protection and Advocacy System releases information to individuals not otherwise authorized to receive it, the Protection and Advocacy System must obtain written consent from the client requesting assistance or his or her guardian.
(j)Contracts for program operations.
(1) An eligible P&A system may contract for the operation of part of its program with another public or private nonprofit organization with demonstrated experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, provided that:
(i) The eligible P&A system institutes oversight and monitoring procedures which ensure that any and all subcontractors will be able to meet all applicable terms, conditions and obligations of the Federal grant, including but not limited to the ability to pursue all forms of litigation under the DD Act;
(ii) The P&A exercises appropriate oversight to ensure that the contr acting organization meets all applicable responsibilities and standards which apply to P&As, including but not limited to, the confidentiality provisions in the DD Act and regulations, ethical responsibilities, program accountability and quality controls;
(2) Any eligible P&A system should work cooperatively with existing advocacy agencies and groups and, where appropriate, consider entering into contracts for protection and advocacy services with organizations already working on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities.