Image shows a hand under three people. Click to hear our core beliefs.

Our Beliefs

People with all kinds of (dis) ABILITIES have the right to be equal and respected citizens in our communities. We have the right to work, live, have fun, make friends, take risks, and learn to speak up for ourselves. People have the right to make their OWN informed choices.

“Changes I Want to See”

Access a downloadable, printable PDF of the 2021 Legislative Agenda brochure by clicking on the image:

front of the 2021 legislative agenda brochure

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Image shows an X over an institution.


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Everyone deserves safe and healthy living situations regardless of disability status. Staying in hospitals or institutions is not what people with disabilities want! We want to stay in the community with DD supports in accessible and affordable housing situations. We need legislators to increase funding for SOLA’s in the I/DD community and close institutions.

Closing Institutions Timeline

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  • JANUARY 2010

    Study on How Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities can be Better Served in Community Settings
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  • NOVEMBER 2013

    DRW article on Feds Citing 40,000 Violations in Spokane's Lakeland Village
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  • NOVEMBER 2019

    Ruckelshaus Recommendations
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  • JANUARY 2020

    Senate Bill 6419 Discussion in Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee
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  • JANUARY 2020

    House Bill 2572/
    Senate Bill 6419 Report
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  • JANUARY 2020

    Discussion of Senate Bill 6419 in House Human Services & Early Learning
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  • JANUARY 2020

    Discussion of Senate Bill 6419 in House Appropriations Committee
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  • FEBRUARY 2020

    DRW’s Call for Amendments to the RHC Bills
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  • FEBRUARY 2020

    Senate Bill 6419 Passes State Senate

  • MARCH 2020

    Letter from Rep Gerry Pollett to Ruckelshaus Center
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  • MARCH 2020

    Senate Bill 6419 Passes State House

  • APRIL 2020

    Senate Bill 6419 Approved by Governor
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  • JUNE 2020

    Open Letter from Advocates Regarding Ruckelshaus Recommendations
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  • SEPTEMBER 2020

    DD Ombuds Request for Plain language WACs for DDA Client Rights Bill
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  • SEPTEMBER 2020

    DRW Letter Advocating Community Supports and No New Nursing Facility at Fircrest
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  • OCTOBER 2020

    KUNI Foundation Report on Housing Insecurity for People with I/DD
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  • OCTOBER 2020

    A Letter to Ruckelshaus Regarding Caring for People with I/DD
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  • NOVEMBER 2020

    A Letter from DRW to WSDSHS Advocating Closing Rainier PAT-C
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  • DECEMBER 2020

    Second Letter from Advocates to Governor and Ruckelshuaus Taskforce
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  • JANUARY 2021

    Senate Ways and Means Committee Meeting
    Jan 12
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  • JANUARY 2021

    House Appropriations Committee Meeting
    Jan 14
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  • JANUARY 2021

    House Capital Budget Committee Meeting
    Jan 14
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  • JANUARY 2021

    DDA's Report to the Legislature Regarding Implementing SB 6419 (Ruckelshaus Recommendations on RHCs)
    Jan 26
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  • MARCH 2021

    The Shut Them Down Coalition’s Letter to Governor Jay Inslee
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  • MARCH 2021

    People First of Washington Press Conference
    March 31
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Why It's Crucial to Close Institutions

In 1999, the United States Supreme Court passed a landmark decision, Olmstead vs L.C., requiring states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting possible.

Yet, Washington State is on track to invest tens of millions into rebuilding the same institutions that over the years, have been at the center of horrific realities. It's time to change course.

Click on the logos graphic below (or at right) to access links to compelling reports and interviews about the devastating realities of institutions.

Beyond Institutions: The Way Forward

Below is a link to the ADA page with more information on the Olmstead Decision:

Americans with Disabilities Act logo.

The 317 Plan and its impact on developing community-based services in Indiana:

Logo for the Center on Aging and Community at Indiana University.  Logo of the Indiana Family and social services administration.

A link to an NPR report on the higher rates of COVID-19 deaths in the I/DD community (features members of People First of Washington):

National Public Radio logo.

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The proposed cuts from DDA and DSHS will have a serious and disproportionate impact on so many people across the state of Washington.The impact of these cuts will be deeply felt. Cutting services and reducing eligibility will affect the lives of many existing clients and those who aren’t clients but should be. Please do not make these budget cuts.

People First of Washington, Self Advocates in Leadership (SAIL) and Allies in Advocacy have written an open letter opposing these cuts. You can OPEN A PRINT VERSION HERE, or listen to it here:

Image shows person with a briefcase walking up stairs.


We believe that all people have the right to have a job that provides a living wage, opportunity for advancement, and personal fulfillment.

That is why we want jobs that:

  • complement our abilities;
  • provide equal opportunities for competitive wages, benefits and retirement;
  • incorporate choice and change;
  • focus on career advancement;
  • and increase quality of life.

We believe that all workers should be paid minimum wage or above. No person with disabilities should be denied an equal wage! We need to end sub-minimum wage in public and private businesses.

Legislation Currently
Under Consideration:


Senate Bill 5284: Eliminating Subminimum Wage Certificates for Persons with Disabilities.

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Image shows person considering their own choices.

We believe that all people have the right to make the decisions that affect and direct their lives.

To support us leading the process, we need equal access to information, resources, facts and supports. The significant people in our lives, such as family, guardians, case managers, co-workers, friends, bosses, and personal support staff should assist us in a self-directed process to form these decisions.

Important DDA client rights legislation was passed in 2020. You can OPEN A PRINT VERSION HERE, or listen to it here:

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things a person can do, whether or not they have a disability. For parents with disabilities, having opportunities for support, like social groups, parent’s night out programming and coaching help to address the challenges all parents face, but those with disabilities are often left out of.

Videos on DDA Client Rights


Personal Power

Making Choices


Discharge and Termination of Services

Image shows people standing together.

We believe it is our human right to be included equally in our community without limitations.

  • Inclusion means that everyone is valued, respected, and included in their communities in ways that are meaningful to them.
  • Inclusion is more than access to buildings and bathrooms and buses.
  • Real inclusion means that people with disabilities have equal access to information and support to understand and use it in their own lives. We each have an important role to play to make inclusion a priority and a reality in our community.

People with I/DD want to be invited to and included around the table when decisions are made about them. People also want to be included on any issues that have a direct impact on the I/DD community.

Image shows person in wheelchair boarding a bus.

We believe that all people have the right to get where they need or want to go.

We deserve equal opportunities to utilize public transportation for work, medical needs, education, recreation, family and community activities. Transportation helps to make and keep us independent.

People with disabilities often find challenges with finding transportation. Even a trip to the grocery store can feel like planning a vacation as you try to find a practical way from point A to point B. We ask for funding to make all transportation options accessible for all types of disabilities.

We are stronger together.

Visit the websites of our other disability-led partners by clicking on the logos below:

Link to The Washington Law Help dot org website. Link to The Informing Families dot org website.

People First of Washington
16815 Pacific Avenue South
P.O. Box 1180
Spanaway, WA 98387-9997


People First of Washington logo. Click to go to the home page.

Access the People First Zoom Room here:

people first zoom room logo and link.

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