June 22, 2011

by: Renee Canfield

Client Rights

Learning to speak up for yourself and your needs while asserting your rights is not always an easy task.  Knowing what your rights are as an individual and a client is critical in effectively advocating for yourself.  Here at UCP of Greater Cleveland we consider clients to be the heart of the agency, not simply a facet.  Through the example set by the founding members over sixty years ago, UCP continues a legacy of empowering individuals with disabilities to do more.  An important aspect of empowering clients is making sure that they know what their rights are and ensuring they are able to use those rights to advocate for themselves. 

When a client first comes to UCP, each individual is presented with a Client Bill of Rights which outlines the rights of individuals with a developmental disability, as well as grievance procedures when those rights are violated or potentially violated.  For those who need assistance understanding the document, modified versions are available, either with simplified language or pictures. Every client is encouraged to speak up for themselves and ask for what they want and need.

Client Bill of Rights

The rights of persons with a developmental disability include, but are not limited to:

 A)  The right to be treated at all times with courtesy and respect with full recognition of their dignity and individuality; (you should be treated nicely at all times and as a person)

 B)   The right to an appropriate, safe and sanitary living environment that complies with local, state and federal standards and recognizes the person’s need for privacy and independence; (you should have a clean safe place to live in and a place to be alone)

 C)  The right to food adequate to meet accepted standards of nutrition; (you should have food that is good for you)

 D)   The right to practice the religion of their choice or to abstain from the practice of religion; (you should be able to go, if you want, to any church, temple or mosque)

 E)   The right of timely access to appropriate medical or dental treatment; (you should be able to go to a doctor or dentist when you are sick)

 F)  The right of access to necessary ancillary services including, but not limited to, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, behavior modification and other psychological services; (you should be able to have people help you with the way you walk, talk, do things with your hands, act or feel, if you want help)

 G)  The rights to receive appropriate care and treatment in the least intrusive manner; (you should be able to have people help and teach you, if you want)

 H)  The right to privacy, including both periods of privacy and places of privacy; (you should be able to have time and a place to go to be by yourself)

 I)  The right to communicate freely with persons of their choice in any reasonable manner they choose; (you should be able to call, write letters, or talk to anyone you want about anything you want)

 J)   The right to ownership and use of personal possessions so as to maintain individuality and personal dignity; (you should be able to have your own things and be able to use them)

 K)  The right to social interaction with members of either sex; (you should be able to have men and women as friends)

 L)   The right of access to opportunities that enable individuals to develop their full human potential; (you should be able to join in activities and do things that will help you grow to be the best person you can be)

 M)   The right to pursue vocational opportunities that will promote and enhance economic independence; (you should be able to work and make money)

 N)   The right to be treated equally as citizens under the law; (you should be treated like everyone else)

 O)  The right to be free from emotional, psychological and physical abuse; (you should not be hit, yelled at, cursed at, or called names that hurt you)

 P)  The right to participate in appropriate programs of education, training, social development and habilitation and in programs of reasonable recreation; (you should be able to learn new things, make friends, have activities to do, and go out in your community)

 Q)  The right to participate in decisions that affect their lives; (you should be able to tell people what you want and be part of making plans or decisions about your life)

 R)  The right to select a parent or advocate to act on their behalf; (you should be able to choose someone to help you tell others how you feel or what you want)

 S)  The right to manage their personal financial affairs based on individual ability to do so; (you should be able to use your money to pay for things you need and want, with help if you need it)

 T)    The right of confidential treatment of all information in their personal and medical records, except to the extent that disclosure or release of records is permitted by Ohio law; (you should be able to say “yes” or “no” before people talk about what you do at work or home or look at your file)

 U)  The right to voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services without restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal; (you should be able to complain or ask for changes if you don’t like something without being afraid or getting in trouble)

 V)   The right to be free from unnecessary chemical or physical restraints; (you should not be given medicine you don’t need or held down if you are not hurting yourself or others)

 W)   The right to participate in the political process; (you should be able to vote and learn about laws and your community)

 X)  The right to refuse to participate in medical, psychological or other researches or experiments; (you should be able to say “yes” or “no” to being part of a study or experiment)

If you or your family member are unsure about your rights or the process to submit a grievance at UCP of Greater Cleveland, please contact the Supervisor over your program:

Children’s Services: Celia Chesnick

Organizational Employment:  Crystal Winters

Community Employment:  Sharon Meixner

Independent Living Services:  Ina Bailey-Bryan

Group Homes: Jennifer Krzynowek

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