In a move to provide more independence and to better protect the rights of people with disabilities, Ohio’s Protection and Advocacy organization, Ohio Legal Rights Service, will officially become Disability Rights Ohio this October 1.
The transition will make the governmental agency a separate, nonprofit organization.
“We had a good run. But it’s a better fit for us to be out of government,” Michael Kirkman, the organization’s executive director, told the Columbus Dispatch.
Under federal law, every state which accepts certain federal funds must also designate a P&A organization. P&A organizations serve a variety of watchdog functions, including filing lawsuits and doing advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities.
In most states, the P&A organization is a private nonprofit. Ohio is one of just a couple of states where it remained a state agency. The National Disability Rights Network serves as the umbrella organization for the P&A organizations.