COLUMBUS – State Representative Scott Lipps (R-Franklin), Chairman of the Joint Committee to Examine the Activities of the State’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System and Client Assistance Program (CAP), released the committee’s recommendations on these programs.
In 2021, the Ohio General Assembly established this joint committee so they may hear from all interested parties. Over the course of two hearings they heard from Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), the state’s P&A system, family members or caregivers of individuals in Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF), and individuals with disabilities.
Many witnesses testified that they had concerns with DRO’s administration. Specifically, witnesses reported issues with DRO ignoring families’ advocacy, promoting transfers without regard to individual choice or parental rights, and treating those in every ICF setting with the same standard of care, ignoring their individual needs.
“We had the opportunity to hear from several witnesses, but the message was clear – the current system is not working,” Lipps said. “We feel it very necessary to make changes so we can improve Ohio’s P&A system and give these individuals living in ICFs the proper advocacy.”
The joint committee established through the testimony that DRO has shown a lack of accountability, proper coordination, engagement notification, and communication with families and caregivers. The joint committee made several recommendations for Ohio’s P&A system, such as redesignating the current P&A agency, changing Ohio law, increasing the number of P&A systems, or creating a better system of accountability.
“It is my sincerest hope that these recommendations are taken very seriously,” Lipps added. “Everyone’s priority here should be restoring this system for those who need it.”