Disability Rights Arkansas

Blind woman sitting in field with dogDISABILITY RIGHTS ARKANSAS (DRA) is a private, nonprofit agency with offices in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since 1977, the Governor of Arkansas has designated DRA the independent Protection and Advocacy system for persons with disabilities in Arkansas. DRA operates under authority outlined in federal law, is funded primarily through federal grants and is governed by a Board of Directors. DRA collaborates with other disability rights and civil rights organizations and agencies, the private bar and legal services to accomplish its goals and objectives.

PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY SYSTEMS (P&A) are established in every state and U.S. territory. P&A’s operate with grant funding from several federal agencies to advocate for and protect the civil rights of persons with disabilities throughout the state. To learn more about the Protection & Advocacy and Client Assistance Program (CAP) systems, visit the National Disability Rights Network website.

  • DRA operates eight federally-funded programs to advocate for and protect the rights of Arkansans with disabilities.
  • DRA is part of a nationwide network of legally-based disability rights agencies mandated by Congress.
  • DRA is authorized to provide legal and other advocacy services to all people with disabilities, based on a system of priorities for services.
  • DRA has the authority to enter any facility in Arkansas that provides care or treatment to persons with disabilities to carry out its rights protection and advocacy activities.
  • DRA services are available statewide.
  • DRA services are provided at no charge to clients.

DRA Board of Directors

Julie Petty – President, Farmington
Mark George – Vice President, Little Rock
Teresa Dodson – Secretary, Malvern
Scott Hall – Treasurer, Fayetteville
John Jones, North Little Rock
Lorie McGeady, Fayetteville
Nancy Sullivan, Little Rock
Tamika Lockridge, Little Rock
Michelle O’Conner, Little Rock

If you are interested in making a difference for people with disabilities in Arkansas, you are welcome to apply to become a member of our Board of Directors. Having a background in disability rights advocacy, law, accounting or marketing is a plus.

FY 2018 Board Meeting Dates

January 31, 2018

April 27-28, 2018 (Retreat)

July 25, 2018

September 20 (Listening session 5-7pm) and 21 (Board meeting), 2018
Hampton Inn and Suites, Hope, AR

PAIMI Advisory Council

Kim Weser – Interim Chair, Redfield
Dorcas Johnson, Bella Vista
Elaine Williams, Prescott

Interested in becoming a member of the PAIMI Advisory Council?

Funding Sources

Organizational Info

Disability Rights Arkansas is primarily funded through federal grants.  You can read our FY17 Strategic Plan and our FY16 Program Performance Reports, Financial Statement/Audit Report, and 990 below.

Executive Staff:

Tom Masseau- Executive Director
Susan Pierce- Director of Policy and Planning
Lynne Enya- Executive Assistant
Yvonne Sterling- Administrative Assistant

Financial Staff:

Greg Hankins- Finance Director
Marlette Boales- Accounting Assistant

Legal/Advocacy Staff:

Debra Poulin- Legal Director
Thomas Nichols- Managing Attorney
Stacy Henderson- Managing Attorney
Caroline Boch- Staff Attorney
Cristy Park- Staff Attorney
Christian Adcock- Advocate
Teresa Tate- Advocate
Christy Furqueron- Advocate
Kris Stewart- Advocate
Jackie Gorton- Advocate
Peggy Poole- Advocate
Rose Lewis- Advocate
Darren Morris- Self-Advocate Coordinator

Job Openings

Disability Rights Arkansas has no openings at this time.

Access Authority

Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) is the federally mandated and funded non-profit organization serving as the Protection and Advocacy System and the Client Assistance Program for individuals with disabilities in Arkansas. DRA is authorized to protect human, civil, and legal rights of all Arkansans with disabilities consistent with state and federal law. DRA provides advocacy services to individuals, monitors facilities, and investigates abuse and neglect.

DRA has the authority, pursuant to federal law, to have  reasonable  unaccompanied  access  to  provide  information, training, and referrals to individuals with disabilities and to monitor  compliance  with  individual rights. DRA also has authority to access facilities, individuals and records in order to investigate complaints of abuse and  neglect. See Protection  and  Advocacy  for Individuals  with  Developmental  Disabilities  (PADD), 42 U.S.C. §§ 15001, 15043; 45 C.F.R. Part 1386; the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), 42 U.S.C. §§ 10801 et seq.; 42 C.F.R. Part 51; the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR), 29 U.S.C. § 794e; and the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI), 42 U.S.C. § 300d-53

HIPAA does not bar DRA’s access to records or individuals. As part of its federal authority, DRA can be provided with and access protected health information. See 45 C.F.R. § 1386.25(e) (PADD regulations); Protection & Advocacy System, Inc. v. Freudenthal , 412 F.Supp.2d 1211 (D. Wyo. 2006) (discussing in depth the intent behind HIPAA and its interaction with the P&A statutes); 65 Fed. Reg. 82481, 82594 (Dec. 28, 2000) (recognizing that the DD Act specifically mandates disclosure of this type of information).

Any specific questions relating to the access authority of DRA  should  be  addressed  to  Disability  Rights Arkansas,  400  West Capitol,  Suite  1200,  Little  Rock,  AR  72201 , (501)  296-1775  or (800)  482-1774, email: info@disabilityrightsar.org.