Scope of each priority
People are sometimes confused by DRW priorities. They will look at our list of priority titles, find their issue, and think that means we will automatically file a lawsuit on their behalf.
It is more complicated than that. The presence of an issue on our priority list means DRW has done, is or will be doing some work on a given matter. But the nature and extent of that work varies with each priority.
We provide technical assistance services on all of the issues in our priorities and some other disability rights related issues. We do this over the phone through our Technical Assistance Services staffed by attorneys and legal interns, the "Tools to help you" publications section of this website, and through trainings, workshops or conferences.
Most of DRW priorities will be addressed by one or a few group advocacy projects. The goal with group advocacy projects is to achieve systemic reform on a particular matter in a way that benefits many people. The means for achieving systemic reform include investigations, negotiations, legislation, rule making, and litigation. Among protection and advocacy entities, DRW is a leader in terms of achieving success through group advocacy interventions.
Emphasizing group advocacy over individual legal representation is the result of a thoroughly-considered decision of the DRW Board of Directors. The approach was initially championed by members with disabilities on one of our advisory councils. Their rationale was summed up with old adage “getting the biggest bang for a buck.”
DRW uses a four year planning cycle. The continuation of the group advocacy or individual advocacy approach is next up for consideration during the priority setting process in 2020 for the new four year plan ranging from 2021 to 2024.