Mission Statement

By Their Side guides families and provides advocacy for Marylanders with an intellectual/developmental disability. By Their Side believes everyone deserves respect, choices, and quality of life. We support our mission by

  • Providing lifelong personal advocacy for those we serve;
  • Protecting individuals' legal rights;
  • Guiding individuals and families through the maze of the service delivery system;
  • Assisting families with transition planning.

Formed by Families, Guided by Families

Started in 1965 by parents to assure their sons and daughters would continue to have an advocate after the parents were gone, the organization has maintained its focus on providing the advocacy service arranged by each family. The interests of families continue to be well represented in the governance of the organization, with parents and siblings serving on the Board of Directors and its working committees.

And each family guides the future advocacy services of their relative, with By Their Side's assistance.

  • Each family identifies the frequency of their Personal Advocate's visits and monitoring contacts. They determine when advocacy services are to begin, either immediately to help resolve a concern or to transition into the advocacy role with parent guidance, or upon the sponsor's passing. By Their Side is a family-funded, non-profit organization which is not influenced by changing State priorities.
  • In addition to historical information, By Their Side asks families to identify specific advocacy concerns to be monitored for their relative.
  • By Their Side asks families to record their relative's preferences and desires, so their Advocate can continue the parents' work to develop plans that address not only health and safety needs but also life enrichment and satisfaction.
  • When the parents are gone, the By Their Side Personal Advocate supports a sibling's advocacy, whether near or far, by providing update reports of visits and offering consultation to resolve concerns. Advocates update Trustees regarding financial needs as identified during home visits and with the team.

    We are BY THEIR SIDE...of the son or daughter with a disability, their sibling or other representative who may be providing continued advocacy, and trustee.

Our Beliefs

  • By Their Side believes that, whenever possible, the preferences and dreams of the individual with an intellectual/developmental disability should guide the services, activities, and supports provided.
  • We believe that each person deserves the opportunity to live a rich and rewarding life, and that life enrichment opportunities can be identified.
  • We believe that family insight and involvement is key to this process and individual success. We believe that with planning, the insight and wisdom of parents can be carried forward even after they are gone.