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45 Years of Impact Spotlight

Enforcing Our Federal P&A Access Authority to Enter Facilities

Pa. Protection & Advocacy, Inc. v. Royer-Greaves School: In 1998, PP&A invoked its access authority under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (“DD”) Act to make an unannounced visit to a school for blind children after PP&A representatives observed various health and safety hazards during a scheduled visit. The school denied PP&A access on multiple attempted unannounced visits. PP&A sued, and court determined that PP&A’s right of access under the DD Act “includes general facility access without notice” and access to residents upon 24 hours’ notice. The court further agreed with PP&A that the DD Act required the school to provide to PP&A a list of names and contact information for guardians of students, regardless of probable cause to investigate, as needed for PP&A to obtain the consent to access student records.

Disability Rights Network of Pa. v. Baratta: In 2012, DRNPA filed this lawsuit to challenge the defendants’ refusal to permit DRNPA to access the Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center and its residents, including youth with disabilities. DRNPA attempted a site visit at the facility to interview youth residents under DRNPA’s authority under the PAIMI, DD and Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) Acts, but facility administrators denied access. The parties reached a settlement requiring defendants to comply with those statutory access provisions.