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Creating Opportunities. Protecting Rights. Changing Lives. 

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) is an independent, nonprofit, §501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization of attorneys, advocates, parents and related professionals. There are 7 million children with disabilities in America1COPAA members work to protect the legal and civil rights of and secure excellence in education on behalf of tens of thousands of students with disabilities and their families each year at the national, state and local levels.

picture of sistersWith over 2600 members nationwide, each of whom represents families of eligible students, COPAA is at the forefront of special education advocacy.

Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) over three decades ago "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education . . . designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” While many students with disabilities receive a good education, far too many receive an education that is weak and inadequate.  Congress envisioned parents as equal partners in developing their children’s educational programs; however, parents are often unable to participate meaningfully in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process or exercise their rights without representation.  They face a playing field that is neither level nor fair.

COPAA supports individuals with disabilities, their parents and advocates, in attempts to safeguard the civil rights guaranteed to those individuals under federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1871, ch. 22, 17 Stat. 13 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 1983) (“Section 1983”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 (“Section 504”) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12131, et seq. (“ADA”). 

COPAA is committed to increasing the quality and quantity of special education advocates and attorneys, and creating a level playing field to ensure children with disabilities receive the high-quality education to which all children are entitled.

Find an Advocate/Attorney/Related Professional in the COPAA Directory.  Parents who are looking to find a special education attorney, a special education advocate, or a related professional may look up referrals in the COPAA Member Directory.  This directory is to serve as a resource for members and the public to find attorneys, advocates and other professional who belong to COPAA and advocate on behalf of children with disabilities.

COPAA focuses on the rights of children who receive special education services and supports, and who are eligible to be served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other statutes. This includes working to ensure that children with disabilities receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). COPAA endeavors to improve the quality and quantity of legal assistance for parents of children with disabilities. COPAA does not represent individual parents but provides a network to assist, train, and inform advocates, attorneys, parents, and related professionals.



1. 2018-2019 data, National Center for Education Statistics https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp


Please Note:

COPAA does not provide direct services, individual advocacy or representation to parents or to children with disabilities. COPAA does not limit its interest to any particular type of disability, specific age range, or setting. Rather, COPAA’s chief concern is that parents of children with disabilities have equal access to established legal protections by ensuring the availability and quality of legal and advocacy resources. COPAA’s mission encompasses all educational rights of students with disabilities, including students receiving early intervention services, students enrolled in pre-K- 12 programs, students in transition, and students in post-secondary education.





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