Protection & Advocacy

Protection & Advocacy

Acting Director:
Tinei Malepeai

Mission Statement:
Committed to protecting the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities through legal and culturally-based advocacy.

Mandate & Legal Authorities:
The Office of Protection and Advocacy for the Disabled (OPAD) is mandated under American Samoa Code Annotated Title 14, Section 4.19014.1906.  OPAD is also mandated under various federal statutes along with other Protection & Advocacy (P&A) agencies nationwide within the National Disability Rights Network.

P&A's provide legal representation and other advocacy services to all persons with disabilities. These services are provided through individual representation, educating policy makers, advocacy for groups, information and referral services, rights education and self advocacy training.

Current & Upcoming Programs and Projects:
OPAD or P&A American Samoa has eight programs available to assist individuals with disabilities. These programs operate with an Advisory Council. Each have their own goals and objectives, they are:

(1) PADD - Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
(2) PAlMI - Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness
(3) PAIR - Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Individual Rights
(4) PAAT - Protection & Advocacy for Assistive Technology
(5) PATBI - Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury
(6) PABSS - Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security
(7) CAP - Client Assistance Program
(8) PAVA - Protection & Advocacy for Help America Vote Act

OPAD was recently instrumental in providing an After Action Report (AAR) from the FEMA G197 Emergency Planning for Special Needs Populations training to Governor Togiola Tulafono. The training was conducted by Elizabeth Davis of EAD& Associates LLC, New York. She is a DHS advisor and Emergency Management & Special Needs Consultant. Ms Davis was an Incident Commander during the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.

Results of the AAR indicated that participating disability service and support providers, along with emergency management and responders of the G197 strongly felt the need to form a "Special Needs Task Force" for the territory. On December 15 2006, Governor Togiola Tulafono appointed the first American Samoa Special Needs Task Force whose primary goal is to compile an all-hazards, NIMS-compliant Special Needs Plan for the special needs population of our territory. This includes people with disabilities, the elderly and other special needs groups.

P&A is also a federal grantee of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (under the Administration on Children and Families within the Dept. of Human &Health Services). The Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and the ASCC-University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities are joint grantees, therefore forming the American Samoa "Tri-Agency". One of the goals the tri-agency is working on is to introduce accessibility issues in to legislature to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Phone Number:

Fax Number:

Email Address:

Mailing Address:
P.O. BOX 3937