Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Legal Advocacy Organizations

  • American Bar Association  The American Bar Association serves its members, members of the legal profession and the public as the national representative of the legal profession. The ABA pursues four goals: to serve ABA members; improve the legal profession; eliminate bias and enhance diversity; and advance the rule of law.  Over the years, the ABA has championed important reforms both to promote the public interest and to improve access to justice for underserved and disadvantaged groups. It also provides helpful resources for the public. Visit the ABA public resource page
  • Disability Rights New York (DRNY) DRNY provides free legal and advocacy services to individuals with disabilities.  Working tirelessly to protect and advance the rights of children and adults with disabilities, DRNY is committed to enabling people to exercise their own life choices and fully participate in community life.
  • provides assistance and information for people living on low-incomes and the legal organizations that serve them. provides referrals to local legal aid and public interest law offices, basic information about legal rights, court forms, self-help information, court information, links to social service agencies, and more. The Family and Safety section of provides information on the guardianship process.
  • OlmsteadRights.Org  OlmsteadRights.Org is an online resource guide with links to government agencies and advocacy organizations where individuals with disabilities can access legal assistance and supports.  For information about disability resources and advocacy organizations in New York State, visit:
  • Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS)  MHLS provides representation and advocacy for individuals receiving services for a mental disability. MHLS provides legal services, advice and assistance to persons receiving care or who need care at inpatient and community based facilities for individuals with mental disabilities.  For assistance, contact MHLS through a Departmental Office:
    • First Judicial Department (Counties served:  Bronx and Manhattan) TEL:  646-386-5891
    • Second Judicial Department (Counties served:  Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester) TEL: 516-493-3976
    • Third Judicial Department  (Counties served: Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, and Washington) TEL:  518- 451 -8710 
    • Fourth Judicial Department (Counties served:  Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates) TEL:  585-530-3050
  •  NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs  The Justice Center is committed to supporting and protecting the health, safety, and dignity of all people with special needs and disabilities through advocacy of their civil rights, prevention of mistreatment, and investigation of all allegations of abuse and neglect so that appropriate actions are taken. The Justice Center’s Individual and Family Support Unit (IFSU) is a resource for victims of abuse or neglect, their families, personal representatives and guardians.  IFSU advocates provide assistance in a variety of areas, including: 
    • guidance and information about the reporting and investigative process,
    • support during criminal cases and proceedings,
    • victim interview accompaniment, and
    • case status updates.  

 All services are offered free. Visit the Justice Center’s IFSU.