Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) is comprised of several different “teams” or “departments”. Having these various teams allows the organization to pursue its mission through a comprehensive approach. Each team is responsible for a variety of different tasks and goals, which are accomplished through a wide array of different strategies.
The teams are as follows:
Community and Institutional Rights Team
The Community and Institutional Rights (CAIR) Team provides advocacy to individuals living in community or institutional settings. CAIR advocates investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and death throughout the state. They also advocate for individuals who need services to remain in the community and assist those who are moving from a facility and need help with discharge planning.
MPAS has the authority to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, including cases where someone with a disability has died. In addition to our authority to investigate, we have access to information, people, and records that other agencies may not.
The Employment Team is made up of advocates who work to protect the rights of individuals and to eliminate employment barriers for people with disabilities. Employment Team Advocates are experienced advocates with an excellent understanding of the laws and policies that revolve around employment and employment barriers. Advocates understand the importance of informed choice and that having correct information available leads to clients reaching their goal of barrier-free employment and personal independence.
Components of the Employment Team are the Client Assistance Program (CAP); Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS); Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT); and the Representative Payee Review program.
Governmental Affairs and Media Relations Team
The Governmental Affairs and Media Relations Team is two fold. The Governmental Affairs side of the team primarily focuses on advancing the rights of people with disabilities through participation in the legislative process. This includes activities such as tracking proposed legislation effecting people with disabilities, educating policy makers in a nonpartisan fashion on how proposed policies effect people with disabilities, and building coalitions with stakeholders in order to create new legislation which betters the circumstances of people with disabilities.
The Media Relations side of the team handles all aspects of the agency’s imaging, branding, and communications with the public. These activities include maintaining our online presence, both with our website and social media, developing our electronic and paper newsletters, updating our informational materials, writing press releases and op-eds, and helping organize press events when needed.
Information & Referral & Education Team
The Information, Referral, and Education Services (I&R&E) Team can help you understand your rights and advise you of ways you might want to handle your situation. Contact us by phone or through our website. An I&R&E advocate, under supervision from an attorney, can discuss your issues with you, give you information, and help you decide on a course of action. We may also send you self-help rights and advocacy information or refer you to private attorneys or people who can help you further. Information and referral services are free, confidential, and open to anyone who has a question related to disability rights.
The I&R&E Team also provides direct individual and systemic advocacy to address disability-related problems with schools. The Team provides individual representation in a small number of cases that fit within agency priorities and works with other MPAS teams to meet individual and systemic goals.
Our current priority work focuses on the following issues:
- Use of seclusion and restraint causing injury.
- Educational services in child caring institutions, juvenile detention facilities, hospitals, or other facilities serving children and youth.
- Schools’ duty to identify, locate, and evaluate children with disability-related behavior challenges.
- Schools’ duty to provide appropriate services and supports, including behavior supports, to children with disability-related behavior challenges.
- Schools’ duty to provide appropriate secondary transition planning and activities.
The Legal Team represents clients in state and federal court and in cases before administrative tribunals. Representation is provided in cases that fall within agency priorities. In addition, the case must have legal merit and the Legal Team must have the resources to properly and ethically complete the litigation.
Representative Payee Team
The Representative Payee team monitors organizations and individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a person who is not capable of managing their own funds. MPAS helps ensure that benefits are being managed appropriately.
Representative Payee team members conduct reviews and educational visits. The reviews verify the representative payee is using the benefits on behalf of the beneficiary and is carrying out their responsibilities correctly. The educational visits ensure payees fully understand their duties and responsibilities.
For more information about what a representative payee does, please see the “Rep Payee Program Guide for Beneficiaries”.