#AdvocacyMatters: Continuing the Discussion

May 3, 2024 / #AdvocacyMatters

Throughout 2024, we’ve met with legislators and legislative staffers at the Ohio Statehouse to share our work, host discussions about our advocacy, and answer questions about our organization. Sessions so far have covered impactful topics like our investigation and monitoring activities at facilities throughout the state, systemic barriers preventing Ohioans with disabilities from being full and equal members of their communities, the state’s mental health service systems, and young people with disabilities in or at risk of being placed in foster care. These events have generated substantive conversations and an elevated understanding of our role as Ohio’s Protection & Advocacy System (P&A) for Ohioans with disabilities.

Last week, members of our Education, Employment, and Client Assistance Program teams shared their focus and work with an audience of legislative staff. Joined by a parent whose children DRO has assisted in obtaining educational services, much of the discussion focused on our support through the IEP process and other needs in the education space. Other DRO client success stories were shared, including one situation where our team helped a college student with autism get access to a specialized program and another get approval to live on campus as an accommodation. Sharing these stories helps legislative staff understand DRO, our work, and the impact we have on communities across Ohio.

“I was impressed with the good questions and feedback we received from legislative aides, especially the aide who has lived experience with disability,” recalled Kristin Hildebrant, DRO Senior Attorney. “It was clear that the aide understood the need for special education advocacy in Ohio as she had experienced difficulty in accessing good services in both a parent and grandparent role.”

These sessions continue throughout the summer, with upcoming events focusing on Social Security Programs, Intake & Short Term Assistance, and Systemic Policy work. By sharing the experience, outlook, and passion of our team with those in power, we hope to elevate the discussion around advocacy all across our state. #AdvocacyMatters

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