History of the Center

The Arizona Center for Disability Law (the Center) is a federally-designated Protection and Advocacy System for the State of Arizona. Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) throughout the United States assure that the human and civil rights of persons with disabilities are protected.

In creating Protection and Advocacy Systems, Congress gave them unique authorities and responsibilities, including the power to investigate reports of abuse and neglect and violations of the rights of persons with disabilities. P&A’s are also authorized to pursue appropriate legal and administrative remedies on behalf of persons with disabilities to insure the enforcement of their constitutional and statutory rights.

Until March 1995, the Center performed its P&A work as part of the Arizona Center for the Law in the Public Interest. Since then, the Arizona Center for Disability Law has been a stand-alone nonprofit corporation. The following timeline outlines important milestones in the history of the Center.

The ACDL — From 1974 to Today

1974 Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest started by Bruce Meyerson and Herb Ely as a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to achieving social, human, and environmental justice.
1978 Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest is designated as the Protection and Advocacy System for Persons with Developmental Disabilities in Arizona.
1984 1984 Amendments to the Rehab Act create Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the Center starts its CAP program.
1986 Protection and Advocacy of Individuals with Mental Illness Act (PAIMI) is passed by Congress, and Center becomes the protection and advocacy agency for persons with mental illness.
1994 Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) program is funded at the federal level, and the Center begins to receive funding for this additional group of persons with disabilities.
March
1995
Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Protection and Advocacy System become two completely separate organizations. The “old” corporation becomes the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the “new” corporation retains the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest name. Each corporation has different staff, board, and missions.
1995 Arizona starts its Assistive Technology Project and pursuant to the federal legislation, the state project contracts with the Center to perform protection and advocacy work for people to obtain assistive technology.
1998 The Arizona Center for Disability Law receives a competitive HUD/FHIP Grant to perform fair housing work for people with disabilities.
1999 The Arizona Center for Disability Law initiates investigative unit to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.
2000 The Center reorganizes itself to better serve people with disabilities by formalizing a team structure with specialized information and referral staff.
2001 The Arizona Center for Disability Law begins to represent social security beneficiaries on return to work issues pursuant to federal legislative authority under the Ticket to Work/Work Incentives Act.
2002 The Arizona Center for Disability Law receives a three year grant to provide protection and advocacy services to persons with traumatic brain injury.
2003 The Center begins a new initiative on implementation of the Help America Vote Act by working to make the voting process more accessible to people with disabilities.
2004 Center receives grant from Nina Mason Pulliam Foundation to enhance health care education, outreach and advocacy.
 2005 Center celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a protection and advocacy organization.
 2006 Center receives grant from the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education to enhance special education efforts for Native American and Spanish-speaking populations.
 2009 Center receives five-year grant from the Social Security Administration to investigate organizational fraud and abuse to beneficiaries who representative payees are also their employers.
 2013 Center receives grant from the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for an attorney to work on issues for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
 2015 Center celebrates its 20-year anniversary as a protection and advocacy organization.
 2015 Center, along with ASU, …..

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