Disability Rights South Carolina began a new priority cycle in the fiscal year starting October 1, 2021. These goals and priorities set the direction for our work. In preparation for the development of new priorities, DRSC distributed surveys and conducted focus groups of people with disabilities, their families, professionals, and service providers and others about the needs of people with disabilities and the barriers to addressing those needs. The data collected was shared with our Board, advisory groups and staff for development into priorities, goals and objectives, and finally approved by the DRSC Board of Directors at its September 2021 meeting. We will review our three-year plan annually to update it and make revisions as needed.
Monitoring and Investigation
Goal: People with disabilities will be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, or other mistreatment in facilities and programs where they receive services.
- Monitor facilities and programs to identify, prevent, and remedy instances of abuse and neglect against people with disabilities.
- Monitor facilities and programs for legal compliance, safe conditions, and appropriate services.
- Investigate deaths and allegations of abuse, neglect, restraint, or seclusion, particularly in facilities or where the cause is systemic.
- Monitor representative payees of beneficiaries of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.
- Monitor Community Residential Care Facilities, under a contract with the Department of Mental Health.
- Conduct outreach and training to people with disabilities and their family on the rights of people with disabilities residing in facilities and programs.
Goal: People with disabilities will avoid l unnecessary institutionalization and have more options to home and community-based services and support.
- Advocate for a South Carolina Olmstead Plan to ensure coordinated, timely, community-based services for people with disabilities.
- Advocate for people with disabilities in institutions to transition to the community.
- Advocate for people with disabilities facing institutionalization or re–institutionalization to remain in the community.
- Conduct research into the availability of Medicaid state plan and home and community-based services
- Conduct outreach and training to people with disabilities and their families on services and rights (ex. Medicaid, the ADA, guardianship/supported decision making).
Goal: People with disabilities will experience a safe, equitable and just legal system.
- Advocate for people with disabilities to avoid inappropriate confinement in detention centers.
- Advocate for appropriate services for juveniles with disabilities, or suspected disabilities, involved in the justice system.
- Advocate for incarcerated people with disabilities to receive accommodations and equal access to prison programs and services.
- Conduct outreach and training with law enforcement, first responders, and other stakeholders on the rights of people with disabilities.
Goal: Public school students with disabilities will receive individualized behavioral services and supports needed to stay in their least restrictive environment and be provided with individualized transition services to transition from school to work, postsecondary education, and/or living as independently as possible.
- Advocate in selected cases for improved individualized behavioral services and support, so that students are educated in their least restrictive environment at school.
- Advocate in selected cases for students to receive timely and individualized transition evaluations, assessments, and services to successfully transition from school to work, postsecondary education, and/or living as independently as possible.
- Create informational materials and conduct training, so that students with disabilities and their families increase their knowledge about transition services and available resources to assist with transition.
- Continue collaborative efforts to identify areas of concern with students not receiving individualized behavioral services/support and increasing awareness of how families and students with disabilities can respond to those concerns.
- Create training and/or educational materials about assistive technology for students in public schools.
- Conduct research into the prevalence of public schools using abbreviated school days as a response to behaviors of students with disabilities.
Goal: People with disabilities will overcome barriers to employment and have equal access to integrated work at competitive pay.
- Advocate for people with disabilities facing barriers to work.
- Advocate for people with disabilities who have been denied or are not receiving appropriate vocational rehabilitation services.
- Create training materials and conduct training for people with disabilities about rights to vocational rehabilitation services.
- Create/distribute informational materials about working and employment rights for people with disabilities.
Goal: People with disabilities will be more independent and better integrated by receiving assistance to enforce their rights under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal and state laws protecting people with disabilities.
- Advocate to enforce the rights of people with disabilities under Titles II and III of the American Disability Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal and state laws protecting people with disabilities.
- Advocate for the voting rights of people with disabilities.
- Educate, train, and collaborate on voting rights for people with disabilities and those involved in the election process.
- Advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in state and local emergency preparedness plans.
- Create educational materials on access to the South Carolina judicial system for people with disabilities.
Case Selection Criteria for 2021-2024 Goals and Priorities
In deciding whether to agree to provide individual representation, DRSC will endeavor to use its limited resources in a manner that best promotes systemic change for the benefit of people with disabilities. To that end, DRSC will consider the following factors:
Case selection criteria to consider:
- Violation of an individual’s fundamental right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitations in institutions and community settings;
- Improper restriction of rights of individuals in institutions or community settings, including but not limited to: access to their records, freedom from restraint, seclusion or medications, and access to an internal process to address grievances;
- People with disabilities seeking to live or maintain living in the most integrated setting;
- People with mental illness or disabilities who incarcerated or institutionalized due to lack of appropriate services;
- Students with disabilities who are not receiving timely transition services and planning;
- Students with disabilities who are not receiving appropriate behavioral supports and services;
- Students being denied the option to receive a high school diploma;
- People with disabilities who are facing discrimination in accessing housing, healthcare, public accommodations, emergency preparation, and voting access;
- Whether DRSC has access to the resources necessary to provide high quality representation;
- Capacity of the individual for self-advocacy;
- Cases involving access to private entities that can be resolved through negotiation;
- Whether the client is willing to have the case used to educate and wants to be a part of this process.
- Legal merit and likelihood of success;
- Attractiveness to private attorneys or others who might provide representation;
- The case resolution is likely to benefit other people with disabilities by changing a policy, practice, law or physical environment;
- The case involves a fundamental right under the state or federal constitution or statute;
- The case is likely to enhance public understanding and support of the rights of people with disabilities;
- The case involves a challenge to our statutory access authority.
Grievance Policy and Procedures
As the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system in South Carolina, we intend to operate in compliance with the federal laws regarding protection and advocacy systems. We strive to provide appropriate services to individuals with disabilities and to treat them with respect while we are assisting them. To assure that individuals have full access to our programs and that we are operating in compliance with federal protection and advocacy acts, we recognize the right of clients or prospective clients of the P&A system to grieve any action or decision relating to the services we may provide to them.