LivAbility Magazine
Ronaldo stands next to Donna in a hallway. Donna uses a power chair.

By J. J. Rico, ACDL Executive Director Photo by Loren Worthington

The Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to providing legal services to children and adults with a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities. The ACDL is part of a federally-mandated system present in every state and territory.

Our disability rights network was established by Congress in 1975, and collectively is the largest provider of free legal services to people with disabilities in the United States.

Every day, the ACDL upholds its mission to advocate for the legal rights of persons with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect and discrimination and to gain access to services, maximize independence and achieve equality.

Who does the ACDL help?

Individuals with disabilities: The ACDL receives specific federal protection and advocacy funding to assist individuals with certain types of disabilities such as developmental disabilities or serious mental illness.

Individuals with disability-related problems: The ACDL serves individuals whose disability is the reason for discrimination, abuse or neglect or failure to provide needed services. The ACDL does not handle general legal problems encountered by individuals, whether or not they have disabilities. Legal issues NOT handled by ACDL include drafting a will, obtaining a divorce or filing for bankruptcy.
What types of problems does the ACDL address?

 Investigates abuse and neglect of individuals in mental health facilities, nursing homes, community provider residences and schools.

 Enforces the right to a free public education for children with developmental disabilities.

 Advocates for the right to appropriate health care, assistive technology and other services for individuals with disabilities.

 Assists individuals with disabilities through the Client Assistance Program to obtain the services they need from Vocational Rehabilitation and other Rehabilitation Act-funded programs.

 Investigates housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act.

 Addresses discrimination by enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act including: advocating for greater accessibility to public places, businesses and governmental offices and services; promoting integration and equality in public services and programs; and enforcing employment rights for individuals with disabilities.

What services does the ACDL provide?

 Provides information on legal rights.

 Represents individuals in negotiations or in administrative proceedings and court.

 Investigates abuse and neglect.

 Provides outreach and training on legal rights and self-advocacy.

 Brings impact litigation to remedy systemic problems.

 Provides technical assistance to groups and individuals on disability-related legal issues.

ACDL will continue to represent and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities until we live in a society that focuses on people’s abilities rather than disabilities.

For more information, visit or (602) 274-6287. Like ACDL on Facebook follow @AZDisabilityLaw on Twitter