- Report Published -
|Evaluating the Human Rights Advocates in State Facility and Community Programs|
|Department of Mental Health; Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services|
|Appropriation Act - Item 323 N. (Regular Session, 2000)|
|The Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (DMHMRSAS) surveyed over 630 consumers of mental health and substance abuse services, 130 consumers of mental retardation services, and all 24 DMHMRSAS Office of Human Rights advocates, to provide data for the study of the human rights advocates in response to Item #323 N of the FY 2000 Appropriation Act.|
Results indicate that the advocates are well trained and well educated. The advocates have experience with all major disability and population groups. Most consumers have seen a human rights poster, and most know some of their rights. When consumers have contact with the advocates, they are satisfied with the service provided by the advocates. However the survey results indicate that only 10% of consumers have had contact with the advocates.
The advocates are responsible for large caseloads, large numbers of programs, many Local Human Rights Committees (LHRCs), and many Community Service Boards (CSBs). The size of the caseloads and geographic distance do not enable the advocates to have a significant presence in community programs. In addition, following the promulgation of the Rules and Regulations to Assure the Rights of Individuals Receiving Services from Providers of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (12 VAC 35-115-10 et seq.), Office of Human Right's advocates will also be responsible for providing comprehensive advocacy services to 49 private psychiatric hospitals in the state.
The Department recommends increasing staff by 5 advocates in FY 2002 and 5 compliance auditors in FY 2003, providing training on cultural and disability issues, and increasing recruitment efforts for staff skilled in working with the deaf and hard of hearing and visually impaired.