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The purpose of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program is:

  • To protect and advocate for the rights of individuals with mental illness

  • To investigate reports of abuse and neglect of individuals with mental illness in facilities and schools

People We Serve

The PAIMI staff serves individuals who:

  • Have a significant mental illness as determined by a qualified mental health professional

  • DC residents or individuals who are or who were patients, residents, or clients of facilities providing mental health care and treatment and who, during his or her stay at the facility or within 90 days of discharge, request help for problems related to care and/or treatment

DRDC at ULS is not able to represent everyone. Requests for assistance are assessed on a case-by-case basis according to the annual priorities and staff capability.

If DRDC at ULS is not able to take your case, we will try to provide you with information and/or refer you to another organization.

Other PAIMI Services

  • Provide public information and education about the rights of persons with mental illness

  • Monitor private and public psychiatric hospitals, facilities and schools in the District of Columbia

  • Recognize problems in the mental health services system and work to provide solutions through collaboration, advocacy and education.

Know Your Rights!

As a District consumer you have the:

  • Right to live in the least restrictive environment

  • Right to be free from physical, sexual, or verbal abuse

  • Right to freedom from inappropriate restraint or seclusion

  • Right to a safe, healthful, and human environment in facilities

  • Right to privacy

  • Right to assert grievances

  • Right to due process of law

  • Right to develop a treatment plan

How To Contact Us

To request help for yourself or someone you know, call (202) 547-0198 or 1-877-221-4638, or (202) 547-2657 or e-mail us at mcober@uls-dc.org. The office is located at 220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130, Washington, D.C. 20002. 

Requests for assistance are assessed on a case-by-case basis under our prioroities.


PAIMI Objectives and Priorities 2018

THE MISSION of Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (DRDC) is to ensure that District of Columbia residents with disabilities have the legal rights to which they are entitled, including the right to be free from harm, the right to individual choice, and the right to full inclusion in the community.

The following priorities and objectives reflect DRDC’s mission:

  1. Assist individuals with leaving institutions, advocate for greater consumer choice, and reduce the District’s reliance on institution-based and/or segregated services for children and adults diagnosed with mental illness.

    • Represent 10 adult consumers in inpatient and residential facilities and advocate for them to live in the least restrictive setting appropriate to meet their needs.

    • Represent 20 adult consumers living in the community in their efforts to obtain appropriate, individualized mental health services, including interagency care coordination, and enforce their right to access existing programs, housing, governmental services and public accommodations.

    • Represent 4 children with serious emotional disturbance in accessing appropriate, individualized, coordinated mental health services and supports in the community.

    • Represent 6 individuals with obtaining access to appropriate community-based services within the first 6 months of their release from the D.C. Jail and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

    • Provide self-advocacy assistance to 5 adult consumers with mental illness to strengthen their abilities to advocate for their rights, services and supports in the community.

  1. Monitor, investigate, and advocate against improper seclusion, restraint, and medication and other abusive and neglectful conduct at facilities where D.C. residents receive mental health service or seek to receive mental health services.

    • Investigate on behalf of 10 adult consumers who have been improperly secluded, restrained, medicated, or otherwise been abused or neglected.

    • Investigate on behalf of 2 children or youth in residential, inpatient, or educational settings who allege abuse or neglect.

    • Through advocacy, including the Department of Mental Health grievance procedures, represent 10 consumers regarding rights violation by providers in institutions.

  1. Conduct outreach and education to individuals with a mental illness, their family members, the government, court-appointed guardians, and service providers about individual rights and ways to reduce reliance on institution-based and segregated mental health services.

    • Conduct 10 outreach, monitoring, and education sessions for children and youth at local psychiatric hospitals, group homes, and residential treatment centers.

    • Conduct 15 outreach, monitoring, and education sessions for adult consumers and staff at hospitals that accept involuntarily- committed patients, and at residential treatment programs that house people with dual diagnoses.

    • Conduct 8 outreach and education sessions for youth or adults receiving mental health treatment inside or recently released from correctional facilities.

    • Conduct 3 outreach, monitoring, and education sessions at homeless shelters serving youth and adult mental health consumers.

    • Conduct 2 outreach and educate the community to promote inclusion and quality secondary transition services for children with serious emotional disturbance in District of Columbia Public Schools and Public Charter Schools, and to educate parents and children about their educational rights and improve services.

  1. Develop strategies to promote autonomy and self-direction for individuals who have been appointed a guardian or are at risk of having a guardian appointed.

    • Provide 2 training and technical assistance sessions to mental health consumers, family members, and the community about the right of mental health consumers to make their own decision and options for surrogate decision-making; coordinate with advocacy groups to advocate for alternatives to guardianship.

    • Provide individual representation to adults and youth mental health consumers around alternatives to guardianship, and execute powers of attorney and advance directives, to ensure maximum autonomy.

  1. Represent Brown v. District of Columbia class members at trial and in any necessary post-trail actions to promote their rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to information about alternatives to nursing facility placement, transitional assistance, and quality home-based personal care services and supports through the Elderly and Physical Disabilities (EPD) Medicaid Waiver Program and the DC Medicaid State Plan to enable them to move out of nursing facilities.

CASE SELECTION CRITERIA

DRDC accepts cases, as resources allow, for individuals:

  1. Who have a significant mental illness or emotional impairments; AND

  2. Whose complaints fall within the above listed priorities; AND

  3. Who are residents of the District of Columbia.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

While we recognize that every situation is important, please note that case acceptance is dependent upon available resources, including staff time. If your case is not accepted and you wish to file a grievance, please submit your grievance in writing to the Executive Director. Current clients may also submit a grievance to the Executive Director about the quality of DRDC’s representation. A client may lodge an oral grievance with a DRDC staff member who shall put the grievance in writing and submit it to the Executive Director. The Executive Director may be reached at:

Jane Brown, Executive Director
Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-0198 Phone
(202) 547-2662 Fax
(202) 547-2657 TTY

The Executive Director shall respond in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of a grievance from any client or prospective client, or community member who has an interest in the operation of the protection and advocacy program.

A grievant may appeal the Executive Director’s decision to the Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final and not subject to further appeal or review. Client confidentiality shall be maintained.

The Executive Director shall report grievances to the Board of Directors annually.


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