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 nine 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
Kim Weser, Redfield
Shannon Rivas, Hot Springs

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 2019 Board Meeting Dates

January 25, 2019 – Little Rock

April 26-27, 2019 (Retreat) – Fayetteville or Mountain Home

July 19, 2019 – Little Rock

September 06, 2019 – Location to be announced

PAIMI Advisory Council

Kim Weser – Chair, Redfield
James Mason – Vice-Chair, Redfield
Adam Ringle – Secretary, Springdale
Elaine Williams – Past Chair, Prescott
Dorcas Johnson, Bella Vista
Charles Pennington, Ft. Smith
Georgia Rucker, Mabelvale
Meggin Mews, Hensley

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 FY19 Strategic Plan, FY18 Program Performance Reports,  and FY16 Financial Statement/Audit Report and 990 below.

Executive Staff:

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

Financial Staff:

Greg Hankins- Finance Director
Marlette Boales- Accounting Assistant

Legal/Advocacy Staff:

Thomas Nichols- Director of Legal and Advocacy Services
Stacy Henderson- Managing Attorney
Cristy Park- Staff Attorney
Dani Fields- Staff Attorney
Christian Adcock- Advocate
Teresa Tate- Advocate
Christy Furqueron- Advocate
Kris Stewart- Advocate
Jackie Gorton- Advocate
Rose Lewis- Advocate
Abigail Craig- Advocate
Darren Morris- Self-Advocate Coordinator

Job Openings

DRA is seeking to hire a staff attorney and a communication and outreach manager.  For more information, please see postings below:

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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  in facilities 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 to 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.