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Intake and Referral Process

Photograph of an advocacy specialist doing an intake.Intake is how the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc. (Advocacy Center) gathers general information about an individual’s reason for contacting us, along with some personal information (age, race, disability, etc.) to meet our federal reporting requirements. This helps us determine what type of information and referral (I & R) or assistance we may be able to provide.

Although anyone may contact us for general information on disability related issues, our mandate and agency mission require that we provide services to individuals with disabilities. Our contact is with the individual with a disability unless the parent of a minor child or legal guardian contacts us. If an individual is already being represented by an attorney, we refer the individual back to his/her legal counsel, and may provide general technical assistance to the attorney.

We base our services on goals and priorities developed with public input and adopted by our Board of Directors. In determining which cases to accept, we must also follow our case selection criteria and other policies and procedures.

Intake serves individuals without disabilities or individuals with disabilities seeking only information and referral about various disability issues. The following examples may be helpful.

  • An individual is interested in registering to vote/or wishes to receive general information on his/her voting rights. We might provide our agency guide, Voting in Florida: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities, and the local Supervisor of Elections or the Florida Voter Assistance Hotline – 1-866-308-7739.
  • An individual requests an overview of the Advocacy Center along with a request that materials be sent by e-mail, mail or requested accessible format.
  • An individual recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is interested in finding support groups or organizations in his/her area.
  • A family member is looking for resources to donate equipment, a wheelchair, or other assistive technology after the death of a family member.
  • An individual in a Baker Act receiving facility does not understand why he/she is in the facility or what his/her rights in this situation are.
  • An individual is having difficulties on his/her job, related to his/her disability, and is looking for resources to contact for information and assistance.

Intake also receives a large volume of calls from individuals with disabilities who report a disability rights dispute or problem that is within the Advocacy Center’s goals and priorities. If there is no attorney involved, we request specific details of the disability rights concern. This helps us understand: the date of the incident, what happened, the individuals involved, and what steps the individual has taken to resolve the matter. Intake would refer the dispute for additional evaluation within the Advocacy Center to determine if more information and referral is required, or whether investigation, short-term or technical assistance, mediation or possibly litigation services are needed. The following examples may be helpful.

  • A city bus driver will not allow an individual and his/her service animal to board, thus limiting that individual’s ability to travel in the community.
  • An individual, in an institutional setting, reports abuse by other residents and alleges the staff is not providing adequate protections.
  • A parent calls to report a dispute with a school over a denial of service on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for their minor child with a disability.
  • An individual in an institution contacts us to report that he/she may have sprained a shoulder. The individual has notified staff of the injury but the staff is taking no steps to provide medical attention or assistance.

FIRST Information Packet

  • A Message from FIRST in English or Spanish
  • View our Advocacy Center Brochure and Ten Steps for Being an Effective Self Advocacte on our Publications page
  • View our Grievance Procedures in English or Spanish
  • View the Are You Prepared document under the Additional Resources tab of the Emergency Preparedness page
  • View our Financial Assistance document in English or Spanish
  • Find Voter Registration and Supervisor of Elections information on the Voting Rights page

Begin the Process

To begin the intake process, please visit our Contact Us page to get our phone numbers, or to submit your information online, visit our Online Contact Forms page and select the Online Service Intake option.

The information provided herein does not constitute legal representation or advice. Legal representation is solely determined by the Advocacy Center and a written agreement is required.

Please Note

Florida’s Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc., only provides services to individuals with disabilities who live in Florida. We will try to help with general disability information but please contact the Protection and Advocacy (P & A) system in the state where the individual with disabilities is currently living if you wish to request services. Visit the Find the Protection and Advocacy system for your state section of our Links page for assistance.

The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc., does not assist all individuals with disabilities. For example, the Advocacy Center does not provide assistance in personal injury, criminal defense, family law, issues not related to the disability of an individual, attempts to obtain guardianship, property and probate issues, Social Security disability determinations, malpractice or direct cash assistance. Individuals requiring legal assistance may contact the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service 1-800-342-8011, your local county bar association or a Legal Aid office in your area. You may also find listings for attorneys and their specialties in the yellow pages.