A Brief History
In 1975, all states were mandated to create protection and advocacy offices on behalf of people with disabilities. In most states, this led to the creation of case management agencies and legal aid offices. A small group of people in Atlanta, who had been asked by then-Governor Busbee to develop a plan, chose to invest instead in citizen advocacy.
The mission of the Georgia Advocacy Office would be to “provide protection of and advocacy for people being abused, neglected or excluded because of disability.” The Savannah office was established in 1978 and operated as part of the Georgia Advocacy Office until 1983, when it gained its own 501(c) (3) status.
CSCA has only one purpose – to recruit, match and offer training to private citizens who become advocates. Over the past 40 years, we have made close to 900 of these citizen advocacy matches.
Key Principles in Citizen Advocacy Matches
- Each citizen advocacy relationship is freely given.
- Each citizen advocate is independent of human services, the citizen advocacy office, and, if necessary, his or her advocacy partner’s family.
Loyalty to the individual person allows the advocate to speak out and act with freedom and clarity.
- Most citizen advocacy matches are established with the hope of developing a long-lasting relationship, some of which may be life-long.
- Each citizen advocate looks for ways to bring his or her protégé’s interests, gifts and needs to the larger community in ways that are dignified and enhancing to the person.