Skip to main content

Citizen Advocacy

Citizen Advocacy

Citizen Advocacy is a way for local communities to respond to the need for protection of individuals with disabilities who are at risk of abuse or neglect. These local, independently-operated Citizen Advocacy offices create one-to-one matches between ordinary citizens and vulnerable people with disabilities in their communities. Citizen Advocates are asked to look out for the rights and interests of the person with a disability as if they were their own. Disability Rights Nebraska provides consultation on program development, training for board members and staff, and program evaluation to citizen advocacy offices in Nebraska. Read the Citizen Advocacy Fact Sheet to learn more about the program. 


  • Building long-lasting relationships between ordinary citizens (unpaid and independent of the human service system) and people with a developmental disability. Many of the relationships established through citizen advocacy last a lifetime.
  • Encouraging ordinary citizens to defend and represent the rights and interests of people with disabilities on a one-on-one basis.
  • Relying on the talents and skills of ordinary citizens to solve problems rather than always looking to professionals or experts for answers.
  • Offering opportunities for action:
    • Advocates have tapped their own networks to find competitive jobs for their partner.
    • Advocates play a crucial role in keeping people out of institutions or in moving people from institutions to places to live within the community.
    • Advocates have attended education or service plan meetings to vigorously represent their partner’s rights and interests.
  • Building community by encouraging advocates to share their family, church, and neighborhood community with their partner.