Click to view this email in a browser

On Target  eNews                                              February 2016

news logo border

On Target eNews comes to you the first Tuesday of each month with updates on our clients, our organization, and our work. We also publish a full newsletter three times a year.

Registration for 2016 Disability Advocacy Conference now open

Check out our webpage to see the full agenda, register for the conference, book a hotel room, or learn about available scholarships.

April 20, 2016

8:30 am - 5:00 pm

The Friday Center

Chapel Hill, NC

$125 - Registration for Non-Attorneys

$160 - Registration for Attorneys Seeking CLE Credit

Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and written materials

New this year

* Presentation of a mock IEP meeting and special education Q&A with Disability Rights NC attorneys

* Up to 4.75 hours of CLE credit (including 1 hour of ethics) for attorneys licensed in NC

* 5 Breakout Session time slots offering 15 different topics

* Longer breaks between sessions

* Expanded networking luncheon sponsored by Henson & Fuerst

Keynote speaker

"From Guardianship to Supported Decision-Making" by The Honorable Kristin Booth Glen, Professor Emeritas at CUNY School of Law

2016 Champions Awards Reception to follow conference

We moved our annual awards reception from the fall to the evening of the conference.

April 20, 2016

5:15 - 8:00 pm

Extraordinary Ventures

Chapel Hill, NC

In addition to recognizing the 2016 recipients of the Champions for Equality and Justice Award, we will give the first Adele Foschia Award for Lifetime Cross-Disability Advocacy to an individual who excelled in advocating for the rights of people with all types of disabilities.

Purchase your ticket here

Many thanks to the
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - NC Chapter
for sponsoring the Adele Foshia Award!

Disability Rights NC adds the voice of students with disabilities to EducationNC

EducationNC ( provides data, research, news, information, and analysis about the major trends, issues, and challenges facing public schools. Disability Rights NC participates by contributing monthly columns that speak to disability rights in education, including subjects such as an introduction to what we do, seclusion and restraint, early intervention and protecting the rights of children with disabilities to the educational services they need.

Check out EdNC to follow these and other current issues in North Carolina education.

audio-iconFind audio recordings of our newsletters at TRRS,
Triangle Radio Reading Service.

State offers corrective action plan to catch up on commitments to community integration for people with mental illness

Recent events have moved North Carolina to push harder to place or keep people with mental illness out of institutions and in their communities with the services they need for success.

In response to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has developed a corrective action plan designed to speed up its progress in providing supported housing and supported employment to eligible individuals. The Justice Department letter, citing failures detailed in a recent report from an independent reviewer, expressed concern that North Carolina was not living up to a settlement agreement entered into by the State in 2012. The settlement addressed the State’s violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that people with disabilities be provided the services they need to live in the least restrictive setting in the community.

“Supported housing is one of many services that allow adult care home residents to transition to and live in the community,” the Justice Department said in its letter. “And it is a service that is critical to vindicating the rights of adult care home residents who have been unnecessarily institutionalized.”

By the year 2020, the end of an 8-year plan, the state should have provided 3000 housing slots to members of the target population, according to the settlement. The recent review found that only 417 slots had been filled by July of 2015. By that date supported housing should have been provided to 708 people according to the settlement.

“The State’s ongoing noncompliance jeopardizes its commitment to serve 1,166 people in Housing Slots by July 1, 2016,” said the Justice Department letter, “as well as its commitment to provide community-based housing to 3,000 people by the conclusion of the Agreement.”

The letter also states that North Carolina is falling well short of its commitment to providing 708 people in the target population access to supported employment services. By May 2015, only 288 people had received the service.

NC DHHS is building its progress in these areas through the Transitions to Community Living Initiative (TCLI), designed to coordinate services from the various agencies involved in providing services for the target populations. To receive services through the TCLI program, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Reside in a state psychiatric hospital (Broughton, Central Regional, or Cherry), reside in an adult care home, or be undergoing assessment for placement in an adult care home;

  • Have a serious mental illness or a serious and persistent mental illness; and

  • Be able to live independently with supportive housing services.

Eligible individuals (or their representatives) can request services from the managed care organization (LME/MCO) responsible for serving the county in which they live. Directory of LME/MCO’s

Schools frequently fail in providing legally required behavior intervention and transition planning

State and federal laws prohibit excluding students with disabilities from school. The IDEA and other laws were enacted to ensure full access to educational opportunity for students with disabilities. Students with IEPs have special protections that prevent the school from excluding them for conduct that is a manifestation of their disability unless additional criteria are met, such as possession of a weapon or drugs at school. Holding school systems accountable for failing students like this student is the mission of our education team. By representing individual students whose rights have been violated, our attorneys instigate systemic improvements in school policies and practices, thereby creating environments that are more protective of the rights of all students with disabilities.

Our staff recently handled a case where the school staff should have developed a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) for a student with a disability instead of excluding her from school by suspending her and changing her placement to “homebound” for behaviors related to her disability. This student was disciplined for writing inappropriate notes to her classmates and engaging in disruptive behavior in the classroom, though the behavior was not physical or aggressive. After multiple suspensions in 8th and 9th grades for the same behaviors, the IEP team placed the student on a highly-modified day schedule for the entire first semester of her 10th grade year. She was allowed at school for less than four hours per day, with no opportunity to take elective classes like art -- her favorite subject. Because she was only at school for two periods each day, and when on homebound, received virtually no instruction, she was unable to earn the credits she needed to advance to 11th grade. When she returned to school full-time the next year, she was far behind her peers, disabled and non-disabled, in her academic studies, and felt shunned from a positive school experience.

Our education team filed a due process petition in the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings to secure compensatory education for this student and to work with the school to develop an appropriate education plan for her. The petition argued that the student had been denied a free and appropriate public education as guaranteed to students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The school system agreed to resolve the case by providing the student with compensatory education after school, consisting of one-on-one instruction in reading, math and art twice each week by a qualified special education teacher for the remainder of the school year. Attorneys at Disability Rights NC educated the school system about legally-required transition services, a required component of the student's IEP. The student now attends school regularly, looks forward to interacting with staff and peers each day, is making significant progress in core academic subjects, and is following her transition plan to increase her chances of being gainfully employed after high school graduation.

Connect with Us

 facebook icon 2 Twitter-icon


We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Tel: (919) 856-2195        Toll Free: (877) 235-4210        Email:

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

Disability Rights North Carolina
3724 National Drive
Suite 100
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Non-Profits Email Free with VerticalResponse!