Public Input Requested on DRT's Proposed Goals & Priorities for 2017-2020

  • August 20, 2017

Disability Rights Tennessee is currently requesting public input on it's Proposed Goals & Priorities for October 2017 to September 2020. This proposal was created from data collected during a recent community survey of the biggest barriers facing Tennesseans with disabilities. In addition, information was gathered from various state department needs assessments and focus groups. Public comments will be accepted until September 30, 2107 at 11:59 pm. Please review the Proposed Goals & Priorities.Comments can be submitted online or by mail to Disability Rights Tennessee, 2 International Plaza, Suite 825, Nashville, TN 37217.


DRT's Proposed Goals and Priorities 

October 2017 – September 2020 


Tennesseans with disabilities will experience reduced abuse and neglect and have appropriate safeguards to ensure their legal and human rights. 

  • Investigate complaints of and monitor facilities and programs for abuse, neglect, exploitation, or death.  Prioritize incidents indicating underlying systemic problems that, if uncorrected, may result in additional harm to people with disabilities.
  • Provide individual advocacy to enforce the rights of residents of facilities and participants in programs.
  • Identify incidents of abuse and neglect that impact large numbers of Tennesseans with disabilities.  As issues are identified, utilize all available advocacy methods to address identified issues.
  • Advocate for the availability of a full scope of services for Tennesseans with mental illness


To ensure Tennesseans with disabilities have equal access to the same programs and services as Tennesseans without disabilities, and to increase opportunities for independent decision making and independent living for Tennesseans with disabilities.

  • Provide individual advocacy, technical assistance, and litigation for individuals who have experienced a denial of equal access in programs or services; providing education, training, and self-advocacy skills as appropriate.
  • Monitor opportunities to provide systemic advocacy for equal access to existing programs and services in Tennessee, in collaboration with outside consumer organizations via informed policy-making as well as educational training.

Tennesseans with disabilities will understand their rights and how to self-advocate and Tennesseans without disabilities will develop cultural competency regarding the disability experience.  As a result, Tennesseans with disabilities will be treated with respect and dignity and will be included in their communities.

  • Law enforcement, including school resource officers and first responders will have increased cultural competency regarding disabilities.
  • The public will be informed about rights and disability sensitivity by the use of a targeted media campaign, as well as the development of targeted training and materials.  Dissemination will focus in historically underserved and unserved communities.
  • Collaboration with key disability stakeholders regarding policy initiatives will improve the respect, dignity, and integration of people with disabilities.


Improve competitive integrated employment outcomes for Tennesseans with disabilities, with priority given to Vocational Rehabilitation clients and beneficiaries of Social Security.

  • Pursue individual cases for all clients and applicants of Vocational Rehabilitation and beneficiaries of Social Security who are experiencing barriers to employment. Provide education and training to advance successful pursuit of employment.
  • Actively monitor systemic issues within Vocational Rehabilitation and other employment related services.  Advocate using a full range of advocacy methods to resolve identified issues to safeguard Tennesseans with disabilities’ right to secure, maintain, regain, and advance competitive integrated employment. 
  • Participate with key stakeholders in efforts to improve the availability of and access to services which help with successful competitive integrated employment.

Students with disabilities in Tennessee will receive a free appropriate public education through appropriate implementation of educational plans, and educational rights will be protected through appropriate development and implementation of educational plans.

  • Students with disabilities across the State will receive individual advocacy for the development and implementation of IEP’s and 504 plans, especially those related to behavior supports.  In addition, limited advocacy and technical assistance will be provided when appropriate. 
  • Systemic educational issues will be identified and focused advocacy will be utilized to address the issues found.

Students in identified school systems will receive advocacy and training resulting in policy change and successful outcomes for students with disabilities. 

  • Through collaborative efforts with key education stakeholders, the public (including families of students with disabilities and agencies) will receive education and training statewide on Functional Behavioral Assessments and Behavioral Intervention Plans.

Improve transportation access for Tennesseans with disabilities through statewide systemic efforts.

  • Monitor existing service systems for effectiveness and advocate for policy changes to improve these systems.
  • Identify and work to address transportation gaps through collaboration with stakeholders.
  • Increase client knowledge of transportation options and develop self-advocacy training for the purpose of assisting Tennesseans with disabilities in navigating the transportation system effectively.

Ensure compliance with the Help America Vote Act

  • Monitor for compliance at both the local and state level to include attendance at the quarterly Election Commission meetings and advocate for accessibility in voter registration.
  • Increase access in historically unserved and underserved counties through relationship building and education of voters.