Advocacy Agencies & Resources

Adams Esquire L.A. ~ (Ask for ProBono Services on Contingency – Sometimes take Special Education Mediation or Hearing Cases):

Murrell Adams opened the law firm of ADAMS ESQ in October of 2002. Ms. Adams’ experiences in advocating for a child with exceptional needs compelled her to establish a special education law practice. The attorneys and staff of ADAMS ESQ are committed to improving the lives of children with disabilities by advocating for free and appropriate education.


Area Board 10 was created by state law in 1969 to ensure that people with developmental disabilities and their families get the services they need. The mission of the Area Board is to protect and advocate for the civil, legal, and service rights of persons with developmental disabilities, and to ensure that the support and services they receive are of the highest possible quality.


Bet Tzedek Legal Services relentlessly pursue justice. For the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick and the elderly, justice is far too often something that doesn’t belong to them. So Bet Tzedek, the House of Justice, steps in to give them an equal voice, a fair shot.


California State Legislature (find your local representative by zip code):

Enter your California address and click the locate button to find your State Senate and Assembly representatives. This site is to be used for informational purposes only. To accurately determine your district please contact your local county registrar or elections department. The maps and information shown in this site are based on the districts established by the 2011 redistricting, except as otherwise noted. As a result of redistricting, your area may be represented by two Senators, or may not be represented by any Senator, during the 2013-14 legislative session.


Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) seeks to promote change primarily in government agencies and other institutions by establishing precedent-setting court cases, and by educating the disability, business, government, education, cancer and legal communities to avoid common issues that result in discrimination. DRLC trains local government and people with disabilities, and has close working relationships with disability commissions and grassroots disability organizations. They partner with other public interest law offices and private law firms to litigate systemic issues and legislative advocacy efforts.

Disability Rights of California (DRC) advocates, educates, investigates and litigates to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities. They envision a barrier-free, inclusive, diverse world that values each individual and their voice. In this world, all people with disabilities enjoy the power of equal rights and opportunities, dignity, choice, independence and freedom from abuse, neglect and discrimination.


DREDF – Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund –The mission of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund is to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development. They work to replace this legacy with the core principles of equality of opportunity, disability accommodation, accessibility, and inclusion by employing the following strategies.

Evaluation for Special Education and Related Services – The evaluation process is guided by requirements intheirnation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This section of NICHCY’s website will help you learn more about what these requirements are.


FVCA-Family Voices of California (FVCA) is a statewide grassroots clearinghouse for information and education about ways to assure and improve health care for children with disabilities and chronic conditions. FVCA was established through the linkage of Family Voices National and the Family Resource Centers Network of California. The FVCA Council is made up agencies from across the state that represents urban, suburban and rural areas in 36 counties.

 The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) oversees all HMOs in California and some other kinds of health plans. The information in this section can help you understand different types of health plans and compare plans. There is also information for people who are not insured. This website can help you learn about keeping your group health plans or buying individual health insurance. Group health insurance is health insurance you have through an employer or union. Individual health insurance is health insurance you buy on your own.

 Housing Rights Center (HRC) is the nation’s largest nonprofit, civil-rights organization dedicated to promoting and securing fair housing. HRC actively supports and promotes freedom of residence through education, advocacy and litigation, to the end that all persons have the opportunity to secure the housing they desire and can afford, without discrimination based on their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, familial status, marital status, disability, ancestry, age, source of income, or other characteristics protected by law.


Lanterman Rights – This Manual has one purpose: to help you understand some of your rights as a person with developmental disabilities in California. The Manual focuses on your rights to supports and services under the Lanterman Act — your rights with the regional center and service providers.

Lanterman Rights & Responsibilities


Learning Rights Law Center (LRLC), officially founded in 2005, is an independent non-profit organization, whose sole mission is ensuring that all students are provided with equitable access to the public education system, with a focus towards students involved in the welfare and/or juvenile justice systems; students with learning disabilities and/or learning difficulties; and students not accessing the public school system because of language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, homeless or inadequate facilities. The following mechanisms combine to deliver service: advocacy and policy work; education and training; litigation; and development of materials.

Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center (LACRC) is part of a statewide system of regional resource centers created by California legislation passed in 1984 and designed to assist families and caregivers of adults with brain impairment. The Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center assists those who care for adults who are permanently brain impaired after age 18. All who reside in Los Angeles County are eligible for some or all of the services.


Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS) is a private, non-profit organization established in 1977 to provide free legal services to people with mental and developmental disabilities. MHAS is sponsored by the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations and the Mental Health Association in California. MHAS assists both children and adults, with an emphasis on obtaining government benefits and services, protecting rights, and fighting discrimination.

Office of Client’s Rights Advocacy (OCRA) is part of Disability Rights California. OCRA has a Clients’ Rights Advocate (CRA) at each regional center to help support the needs of regional center consumers.


Partners in Policymaking – Twenty five years ago, the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities created a ground-breaking, innovative training program called Partners in Policymaking to teach parents and self-advocates the power of advocacy to change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work. During the past two decades, important issues have been confronted and dramatic changes have been made.


People First of California – After generations of being invisible People First of California has joined together, with their OWN voice to inspire and educate each other “peer to peer” throughout the state, to start People First chapters. They train, inform, and support all people with developmental disabilities to helptheirpeers learn to speak up for themselves, knowtheirrights and responsibilities, make decisions and solve problems, and, stand together in unity, to taketheirrightful place in the world. htm


Special Education Rights Manual – Manuals on California’s disabilities rights acts. Lists the Special Education Rights and Responsibilities for all California citizens.


TASK Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to reach their maximum potential by providing them, their families and the professionals who serve them with training, support, information, resources and referrals, and by providing community awareness programs. Initially, the primary focus was on children three to 21 years of age, but services evolved to include all ages, especially in the TASK Technology Center.


Wrightslaw-Special Education Law – Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. Begin your search in the Advocacy Libraries and Law Libraries, which include thousands of articles, cases, and resources about dozens of topics.

California Department of Education (CDE)

Special Education Services – The CDE provides state leadership and policy direction for school district programs and services for students who have disabilities. This leadership includes providing families with information on the education of children with disabilities. The CDE works cooperatively with other state agencies to provide everything from family-centered services for infants and preschool children to planned steps for transition from high school to employment and quality adult life.


SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) for California:

SELPAs are dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and that special needs students must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for special needs students and training for parents and educators. The SELPA collaborates with county agencies and school districts to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which special needs students and families can live and succeed.

California Schools Directory - Complete List and User Friendly

The California School Directory contains information about all California public schools, private schools, nonpublic nonsectarian schools, school districts, and county offices of education. The search feature below allows users to search for educational agencies in California by county, district, name, county-district-school (CDS) code, city, zip code, type, or status.


County Wide Programs

Foster Youth Services – FREE IN-HOME TUTORING for children in foster and group home placements, ages 10-18, living in LA County Flyer | Spanish flyer | Application Referral English | Application Referral Spanish

* Boys and Girls Club of America. Boys and Girls Clubs offer daily homework assistance for a small fee: $10 – $15 a year. Also, many of the sites will pick up children from their schools and transport for as low as $45 a month. Click here

*LIBRARIES offer after school tutoring or homework assistance.  Some Los Angeles County Libraries offer homework centers.  With the support of grants and corporate/community funding, these libraries have established 40 (forty) Homework Centers. These Centers provide enhanced resources, computer technology and homework helpers to support the educational needs of students in these communities.   Find a library near you at the LA County Library Link

Free of Low Cost Tutoring Programs

Free Tutoring Click here to find a chart that will guide you in your search, or visit the YES Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services Youth Education Support Website Home to find information about Free Tutoring,  Library Programs, Education Forms, Special Education, Education Policy/FYI, Directories/Rosters,  Powerpoint Presentations, YES to College, Child Care/Pre School Resources

Free Tutoring Program Listing (By CityClick here

Laws You Should Know

AB3632 – Mental Health Services Through School:

State law assigns responsibility for providing services to individuals with psychiatric disabilities to more than one agency. Understanding each agency’s responsibility and the ways in which interagency disputes can be resolved, will help insure that students with mental health needs will receive the services they need in a timely fashion. This information letter discusses coordination of mental health services between county departments of mental health (CMH) and local school districts for students with disabilities.


ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:

Following is the current text of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [ADA], including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325), which became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADA was originally enacted in public law format and later rearranged and published in the United States Code.


U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section:

This guide provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Includes a list of government-funded services and agencies for people with disabilities.


IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.  (Quick Summary): education/rights/idea


Lanterman Rights & Responsibilities:

This Manual has one purpose: to help you understand some of your rights as a person with developmental disabilities in California. The Manual focuses on your rights to supports and services under the Lanterman Act — your rights with the regional center and service providers.

Lanterman Rights & Responsibilities


No Child Left Behind: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):

The No Child Left Behind government page for the Elementsary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Information on No Child Left Behind, including the Act and policy, and the Obama Administration’s blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. landing.jhtml


Special Education & the Individualized Education Program:

The purpose of this guidance is to assist educators, parents, and state and local educational agencies in implementing the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regarding Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with disabilities, including preschool-aged children. This guide does not address the development of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP) for infants and toddlers. needs/speced/iepguide/index. html


504 Accommodation Checklist: 

If you have a child who does not qualify for special education but has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning, that child may qualify for special help in a regular classroom setting under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This provides a list of areas of concern and possible accommodations that may help your child succeed in the classroom. The list can be used as a reference for parents and school personnel.

Private Schools, Non-Public Agencies (NPA) and Non-Public Schools (NPS) - Ability to Find a School or Agency Based on Disability

NonPublic – This List of Nonpublic Agencies NPAs and Nonpublic Schools NPS (in Microsoft Excel format).

This link will send you to the file but you will need to download it:

  •   Choose the… Nonpublic Schools/Agencies
  •   California Nonpublic, Nonsectarian Schools and Agencies Certification Data Worksheet (XLS; 2MB; Updated 20-Nov-

 You will then notice three tabs on the bottom of the Excel worksheet:


When you do use the NPSA Data tab…

  • You will be provided many different ways on how to filter the information you are looking for (example are):
    • School or Agency
    • Grade Level of Student
    • Age of Student
    • County
    • City
  • You can also further filter by a Primary Disabling Condition PDC Served such as:
    • AUT (autism)
    • DB (deaf and blind)
    • OHI (other health impairment)
    • SLD (specific learning disability)
    • etcetera…
  • Tip: if you use the criteria we mentioned above  as a baseline for your query, you may not need to filter more information – This Excel Worsheet listing can be very overwhelming