Who We Are
Disability Rights of West Virginia (DRWV) is a private non-profit agency dedicated to protecting and advocating for the legal rights of West Virginians with disabilities. We are designated as West Virginia’s Protection and Advocacy System (P&A). Every State is mandated by the Federal government to have a P&A.
DRWV works to ensure that West Virginians with disabilities have access to the same opportunities afforded all members of society, and can live full, productive lives, totally integrated into their communities with as much self-direction and independence as possible.
DRWV strives to promote systemic change to increase access to services, promote equality, and protect legal rights.
DRWV services are confidential and free of charge.
We Help People with Disabilities by:
- giving information and providing referrals,
- investigating abuse and neglect,
- providing direct advocacy,
- providing training on self-advocacy,
- providing legal representation, and
- engaging in systemic advocacy and litigation.
Definitions of our types of services:
- Systemic Advocacy Services
- Activities or projects which have the potential to impact populations or systems, such as advocacy on behalf of groups, investigations, monitoring and research. It also includes collaboration, agency support or participation on committees, task forces, and class action/group impact litigation.
- Community Advocacy Services
- Activities or projects that provide outreach and educational presentations to people with disabilities, professionals, and the community at large. It also includes training in self-advocacy, training professionals, needs assessments, publications and media.
- Information & Referral Services (I&R)
- The provision of brief written or oral information about the P&A, including information about additional programs and resources external to DRWV that relate to the individual’s service needs and statutory or constitutional rights as a person with a disability.
- Direct Advocacy Services
- Abuse/Neglect Allegation
- A systemic and thorough examination of information, records, evidence, and circumstances surrounding an allegation of abuse and neglect. Investigations are undertaken for the purpose of determining if there is basis for administrative or legal action on behalf of the client. Investigations require a significant allocation of time that includes interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and generating reports.
- A Service Request is being handled by an attorney and using the court system for complaint resolution.
- Representation at Hearings
- A Service Request where the issue resolution lies in representing the client in an administrative hearing.
- Representation at Meetings
- A Service Request where the resolution lies in representing the client at a meeting or series of meetings.
- Short-term Assistance
- Time limited advice and counseling assistance including reviewing information, counseling a client on actions one may take, and assisting the client in preparing letters, documents or making telephone calls to resolve the issue.
- Technical Assistance
- Includes provision of information, referral, or advice to a client by attorney or advocate, (e.g. coaching the client in self-advocacy, explaining service delivery system(s) available to meet needs, dissemination of information and materials to client, etc.).
We do not provide legal representation for:
- issues of family or criminal law,
- probate of an estate,
- personal injury,
- eligibility for Social Security benefits,
- guardianship, or
- non-disability issues.
DRWV serves people with disabilities including persons with mental health, developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities, as well as traumatic brain injury. DRWV’s Intake Department will provide Information and Referral services to anyone who requests assistance. DRWV’s acceptance of direct advocacy and legal cases is determined by a variety of criteria including: disability related eligibility criteria established by our funders, our annual priorities and objectives, our budget, as well as related fiscal factors. Due to limited resources, we cannot provide everyone who requests our services with direct advocacy or legal representation.