Protection and advocacy agencies (P&As) were created in the early 1970s, following a media investigation of Willowbrook, a New York State institution for children with mental disabilities. The press exposed deplorable conditions and inhumane treatment of residents at the government-run institution. In response, Congress passed legislation in 1975 designating an organization within each state to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

In 1977, Disability Rights Texas opened its doors as the Texas state protection and advocacy organization, designated by then-Governor Dolph Briscoe. Over time, our mandate has grown with the passage of laws that have expanded rights and services for people with disabilities.

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