DRW is part of a network of agencies in each US state and territory, created by Congress, to uphold and advance the rights of people with disabilities. This network is often called the protection and advocacy system, because of the federal "protection and advocacy" laws which created it.

When members of Congress created the protection and advocacy system, they knew there would never be enough funding to meet the demand for disability rights-related advocacy services. They at least wanted available money to be spent on critical needs identified by the people in each state and territory. So, Congress requires that each protection and advocacy agency establish "priorities," or work focus, from the input of people eligible for its services. The goal is to make the best use of limited resources. 

Information on DRW’s priority-setting process, how to participate in it, and the current priorities that guide our work are found here.