Guthrey v. Alta California Regional Center

Filed: July 11, 2024

Court: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Overview: Amicus brief arguing that California regional centers and their vendors, which coordinate and deliver services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, are places of public accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Excerpt: “Because they have physical buildings at which and from which they provide services to the public, California Regional Centers and their vendors (including Defendants/Appellees) are all places of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA. . .and the services they provide individuals like Plaintiffs/Appellants are covered by that statute. . .This Circuit’s requirement that discrimination challenged under Title III have a ‘nexus’ to a physical building simply requires a connection to that building; it does not require that the discrimination have occurred on the physical premises. The district court’s opinion requiring a showing that the challenged services were provided at Defendants’ offices. . . improperly restricted the reach of Title III, contrary to the plain language of the statute, its legislative history, and this Circuit’s precedent. The district court also improperly required that plaintiffs establish a violation of the ADA as a prerequisite to a claim under either Section 504 or the Unruh Act. These holdings are completely unsupported, as the three statutes – while all addressing disability discrimination – do so in different contexts with, as a result, different required factual predicates.  Ultimately, by eliminating all recourse for individuals with IDD to challenge discrimination by Regional Centers and their vendors, the district court’s decision threatens to undermine years of progress through both the ADA and California’s Lanterman Act.”

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City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson

Filed: April 3, 2024

Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Overview: Amicus brief arguing that the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibits cities from criminalizing conduct associated with being unhoused.

Excerpt: “People with disabilities face unique challenges and deep-rooted stigmas that increase their risk for homelessness. Less than 5% of housing in the United States is accessible for moderate mobility disabilities, and less than 1% is accessible for wheelchair use. Housing costs are prohibitive for many disabled people who rely on public assistance for basic costs of living—the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the United States exceeds the maximum monthly Supplemental Security Income a person can receive. Moreover, widespread housing discrimination on the basis of disability further compounds the risk of homelessness. The Ordinances’ impact on homeless people with disabilities highlights how grossly out of proportion the punishments they impose are to the severity of the offense. Simply put, criminalizing the involuntary conduct of being a homeless person without a place to sleep—in a city with no public shelters—is anathema to the decency standards of any civilized society.”

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Robertson v. District of Columbia

Filed: 2024

Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Plaintiffs: Parents and guardians of students with disabilities in the District and The Arc

Counsel: The Arc, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Children’s Law Center, McDermott Will & Emery

Overview: Parents and guardians of children with disabilities living in D.C., along with The Arc of the United States, filed a class action lawsuit against D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent for Education for failing to provide safe, reliable and effective transportation to and from schools for children with disabilities, thereby denying students equal access to their education and unnecessarily segregating them from their peers.

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Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

Filed: January 30, 2024

Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Overview: Amicus brief arguing that it is not the role of courts to substitute their evaluation of drug safety and effectiveness in place of the FDA’s expert determinations.

Excerpt: “The Fifth Circuit’s substituting its evaluation of drug safety and effectiveness for FDA’s expert determinations affects far more than the modifications to the conditions of use for the single drug at issue here. Patients and their providers depend on FDA’s determinations about safety and effectiveness and expect drugs to be available according to the terms of the FDA approval, including supplemental approval. Providers rely on FDA’s expertise-based approval of drug uses in making treatment plans, and patients depend on being able to take the drugs as prescribed by their providers. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling broadly jeopardizes the reliability of FDA’s original approvals of drugs, and the agency’s approvals of modifications to the conditions of their use. It is effectively a roadmap for other litigants seeking to overturn drug approvals or conditions of use they disfavor—whether those changes expand (as was the case here) or restrict how the drug can be used. If approved drugs or modifications to conditions of use can be so readily enjoined despite FDA’s scientific assessments, the resulting uncertainty would jeopardize patient access to drugs, particularly in cases where FDA has expanded the approved uses of a drug to cover new diseases or conditions. It could also threaten patient safety, as FDA approves modifications to conditions of use where it determines they are needed to protect patients from risks of harm. Finally, the Fifth Circuit’s decision would impair the development of new treatments, as uncertainty disincentivizes pharmaceutical manufacturers, clinicians, and patients from undertaking time-and resource-intensive clinical trials to study new drugs and new indications for approved drugs.”

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FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine Amicus Brief

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Storytelling Toolkit for People With Disabilities and Advocates

Your life and experiences are powerful and valuable. Sharing your story can change people’s hearts and minds.

This toolkit will help you create and share your stories to raise awareness about an issue, encourage elected officials to change laws or policies, ask people to support changes you want to make in your life, and share about what your life is like.

Download the resources below to get started!

Introduction to The Arc@School Advocacy Curriculum in Spanish

These recorded webinars provide a brief overview of the Spanish version of The Arc@School’s Special Education Advocacy Curriculum. The curriculum provides basic information that parents, educators, and non-attorney advocates need to support students and families in navigating the special education system. Watch the webinar to learn more about the content of the curriculum, how to sign up to receive an account, what to expect after signing up, and more.

IN ENGLISH:

IN SPANISH:

Talk About Sexual Violence: Phase Three Final Report

Transforming Health Care to Address and Prevent Sexual Violence of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Final Report 

Health care providers hold vital positions in the growing national movement to address sexual assault. The overarching goals of the multi-year Talk About Sexual Violence (TASV) project were to raise the alarm about this silent epidemic, promote trauma-informed practices in health care, and compel action to prevent sexual trauma suffered in communities across the country.

This comprehensive summary report provides key findings, innovative solutions, and a call to action from survivors with disabilities, health care professionals, and other advocates.

This final report is provided both in a written format and as a video.

Restrained and Secluded: How a Change in Perspective for Students With Disabilities and Simple Science Can Change Everything

Students with disabilities are more likely to be restrained, secluded, suspended, expelled, and subjected to corporal punishment. In the name of behavior, children with disabilities, Black and brown children, and children with a trauma history are often misunderstood. Outdated behavioral management approaches are not working for the children who need our help the most. Being the parent or caregiver of a misunderstood child can be difficult. We are often blamed and shamed, but there is hope. A bit of neuroscience and a new lens on behavior can reduce and eliminate punitive practices and lead to endless potential.

Speaker Bio: Guy Stephens lives in Southern Maryland with his wife and two amazing children. He is the founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint (AASR). AASR is a community of over 25,000 parents, self-advocates, teachers, school administrators, paraprofessionals, attorneys, related service providers, and others working together to influence change in supporting children whose behaviors are often misunderstood. He has presented at conferences and events across North America and guest lectures for undergraduate and graduate courses as a national expert on the issue of restraint and seclusion.

Download presentation here.

Download transcript here.

For further questions, please email school@thearc.org.

2023 Talk About Sexual Violence Final Report: Transforming Health Care to Address Sexual Violence of People With IDD

In this video, Leigh Anne McKingsley, Senior Director of The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability, and Kecia Weller, Survivor Self-Advocate and Project Advisor, provide an overview of the key findings and recommendations of the Talk About Sexual Violence project over the past seven years.

FINDS Community Report 2023: Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports

The Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey provides insights and understanding of the experiences of families supporting a family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). It is critical research to inform better policy development.

The FINDS survey was initially conducted by The Arc of the United States in 2010. It was updated in 2017 through a collaboration between the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota and The Arc.

The 2023 report focused on:

  1. What are the challenges families face in meeting the support needs of their family members?
  2. What are the economic implications of caregiving?
  3. How does caregiving affect caregivers, and what supports do they need?

A better understanding of the experiences and needs of caregivers can help policymakers and others support caregivers in this critical role.