PAI works to bring about fairness and justice for people with disabilities. To reach those goals of fairness and justice, PAI may:
- File lawsuits on behalf of individuals or groups,
- Investigate charges of abuse and neglect,
- Build peer/self-advocacy groups,
- Forge community partnerships,
- Advocate for change in laws, regulations, and public policy, and
- Provide information to those who may not know about their rights.
PAI has four legal offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego. Staff in the four offices give callers information about legal rights. At times, staff will refer callers to other agencies. Staff members also do training and education. And, they represent people with disabilities in legal proceedings.
PAI’s Investigations Unit (IU) looks into reports of:
- Abuse and neglect in state hospitals and in other facilities,
- Abusive or negligent care,
- Sexual assault,
- Physical abuse or neglect, and
- Improper use of seclusion and restraint.
They also find and document serious, systemic abuse and neglect as when other agencies fail to carry out their oversight and investigatory responsibilities.
PAI strives to provide broad access to services. Our goal is to ensure that advocacy services reflect the language and ethnic diversity of California. Multicultural advocates, with help from staff in each office and unit, develop outreach and training to help increase PAI’s presence in and services to underserved communities.
Peer/Self Advocacy (P/SA):
People with disabilities have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Sharing that wealth can help others advocate for themselves as they navigate service systems and work to improve their lives. That is the foundation for our peer and self-advocacy people with disabilities sharing their experience. Seeing how their peers have done it, others with disabilities become better informed about their legal, service, and human rights. They learn to exercise their rights to get what they need. They learn how to protect themselves from abuse and neglect. Ultimately, they become their own best advocates.
Office of Patients’ Rights (OPR):
Under a contract with the State Department of Mental Health, the Office of Patients’ Rights (OPR) provides patients’ rights advocacy and responds to patient complaints at the five state hospitals. Staff in OPR provides technical assistance and training for county advocates. They work to ensure that hospitals and facilities follow mental health laws, regulations, and policies. OPR also serves as a liaison between county patients’ rights advocates and the state Department of Mental Health.
Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA):
Under a contract with the State Department of Developmental Services, the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) provides clients’ rights advocacy for people with developmental disabilities who are regional center consumers. Clients’ rights advocates help people who have developmental disabilities and their families get the services they need. Such services can include representation in administrative hearings, training about their rights, and investigation into denial of rights in facilities.
Legislation and Public Information Unit (LPIU):
The Legislation and Public Information Unit (LPIU) [link to Press, News, and Events] works on laws, regulations, and public policy. Their work often:
- Widens access to culturally appropriate services,
- Expands access to safe, community-based living and services,
- Gets rid of discrimination,
- Fosters equality of opportunity, and
- Increases and protects access to health, education and other government benefits.