Who We Are
Disability Rights Wisconsin is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Our mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights. DRW is completely independent of government and the disability service system in order to be free of any conflicts of interests which undermines our capacity to advocate vigorously on behalf of the human and legal rights of people with disabilities. To read more about our unique history please see How We Got Here.
Disability Rights helps people across Wisconsin gain access to services and opportunity through its advocacy and legal expertise. We regularly challenge systems and society to create positive change and improve the lives of people with disabilities. We accomplish this by:
- Rigorously upholding our Vision Statement, Mission and Core Values.
- Promoting self-advocacy and serving as a legal advocate for people with disabilities, and handling individual cases and systems-change litigation to achieve broad-based societal reform.
- Independently monitoring public and private institutions and programs serving people with disabilities.
- Setting priorities and goals to guide our work in an effective and balanced way.
- Serving as a watchdog over the government, business and not-for-profit sectors.
- Advocating through public policy and legislative activities to give people greater choices in their lives and ensure their independence and inclusion in all aspects of community living.
- Empowering people and their families through our disability rights trainings, so they can advocate for themselves or others.
We are an independent agency and our primary goal is to protect the civil and human rights of people with disabilities, however through special funding we are able to take on additional projects that allow us to focus on specific needs in the disability community. Currently these are our primary programs:
- Protection and Advocacy: Our Core Service
- Disability Benefits Specialists Training and Support
- Disability Drug Benefit Helpline
- Family Care and IRIS Ombudsman
- SSI Managed Care External Advocacy Project
- Victim Advocacy
DRW is governed by a Board of Directors with help from our Advisory Councils. These groups are made up of people with disabilities, family members and others who have an interest in disability rights.
DRW's staff has grown from a small group of 6 in 1977 to over 70 staff currently. We have an amazing staff of diverse and passionate advocates.
DRW is a member organization of the National Disability Rights Network and serves as the designated Protection and Advocacy agency for Wisconsin. This video explains what the Protection and Advocacy System is: