Disability affects all of us. Because DLC does not have  enough resources to address every issue individuals with disabilities face, we work with the community each year to identify major threats to the safety, rights, and independence of people with disabilities. We call these our Focus Areas. These Focus Areas guide the work of our small team of dedicated staff and how we spend our limited resources.

We use an intersectional approach. This means recognizing that various forms of inequality often operate together. (DLC is Committed to Respect, Inclusion, and an Intersectional Approach)

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DLC Advocacy Focus Areas for Fiscal Year 2024

Abuse and Neglect

Abuse and neglect happen when an individual or entity (service provider, hospital, group home staff, school administrators, etc.) responsible for a person with a disability put that person at risk of serious harm or death.

Abuse is an action that is likely to cause physical/emotional harm or death. Some examples of abuse are harassment, assault, excessive or illegal restraint, financial exploitation, etc.

Neglect is a failure to provide supports, services, or other assistance.  The result is likely to cause physical/emotional harm or death. Some examples of neglect are not having a safe place to live or not having enough food, clothing, or health care.

Our Work in Stopping Abuse and Neglect:

    • Monitor places where people with disabilities live or receive services
    • Investigate complaints of abuse, neglect, or suspicious deaths of people with disabilities
    • Issue public or private reports
    • Train groups on how to identify abuse and neglect of people with disabilities

Civil Rights

Civil Rights are legal protections that make sure all people are treated equally, and not discriminated against because of their disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, etc. DLC works to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to the same opportunities as everyone else.

Our Work in Civil Rights:

    • Ensure people with disabilities are not being segregated from their community
    • Stop disability discrimination in public and private settings
    • Increase communication access for individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Increase opportunities to live, work and participate fully in the community
    • Increase access to health care services and long term supports
    • Train groups on disability and civil rights

Human Rights

Human Rights are rights that all people have. These include the right to live, to have your own opinions, to make your own choices and decisions, to have privacy, dignity and respect,, and to not be wrongly punished, threatened or harmed.

Our Work in Human Rights:

    • Monitor places where people with disabilities live or receive services
    • Investigate complaints of serious human rights violations
    • Help people receive their basic needs in the least restrictive environment
    • Train groups on disability and human rights


Institutionalization is the loss of independence, control, and opportunities. It is a form of segregation. Many times, people who are institutionalized face abuse, neglect, inhumane conditions, and little or no respect for their dignity.

Our Work in Preventing Institutionalization:

    • Stop unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities
    • Monitor and investigate places where people live or receive services to ensure independence, integration, and inclusion
    • Help people receive support in the community, to avoid institutionalization


Read more detail on all our Focus Areas Descriptions for FY 2024.

You can help shape the work DLC does. We want to hear from you. Take Our Survey / Encuesta de área de enfoque

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