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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Moments in Disability History 10

"DD Act – Protection and Advocacy"

Elizabeth Booggs
Dr. Elizabeth Boggs

Allen Bergman
Allan Bergman

The establishment of the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) title in the 1975 amendments to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) was a civil rights achievement of several leaders including the late Elizabeth Boggs, Ph.D. A forerunner to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the P&A system was originally created to address and protect the legal, civil and human rights of people with disabilities residing in institutions.

The influence of Dr. Boggs, a parent, nuclear physicist, President of the then NARC, and member of President John F. Kennedy's President's Panel, is described by Allan Bergman, a nationally recognized leader in influencing the development of federal and state policy relating to best practice services and supports for persons with disabilities.

In 1973, Senator Jacob Javits, serving as Senator Pro Tempore of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on the Handicapped, held a hearing regarding an extension of the DD Act to establish, among other things, standards to protect individuals.

Cliff Poetz, self advocate, Donald Bartlette, director of Outreach Community Center, and Dennis Haggerty, member of the National Advisory Council on Developmental Disabilities testified in support of this legislation. Here are highlights of their testimony.

Jacob Javits
Jacob Javits

Clifford Poetz
Clifford Poetz

Please note: The language and terminology used here goes back to the 1970s, and is now outdated and considered offensive. At the time, however, it was acceptable and is retained for its historical significance.


Allan Bergman on the DD Act Q6: Why was the Protection & Advocacy System added to the DD Act when it was reauthorized in 1975?

The DD Act

Allan Bergman on the Evolution of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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