Organized citizen advocacy gained momentum in 1975 when all states were mandated to create protection and advocacy offices on behalf of people with disabilities. In response, states created case management agencies and legal aid offices. Georgia, however, responded by investing in citizen advocacy under the direction of then-Governor George Busbee. This investment resulted in the formation of the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) which aimed to “provide protection of and advocacy for people being abused, neglected or excluded because of disability.”
The Macon Bibb Citizen Advocacy office opened in 1978 under contract from the GAO. As citizen advocacy was a new and untried concept in Macon and Bibb County, there was no certainty that people in Bibb County, when asked, would respond to people with developmental disabilities in a “citizen advocate relationship.”
Thirty-eight years later the response from the Bibb County community has been a resounding YES! Over 831 citizens have been involved in Citizen Advocacy, and several relationships established in the 80’s continue to thrive today. We are profoundly grateful for all who have been a part of citizen advocacy in the past, as advocates, board members, friends of the office and financial contributors.