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Thank you for serving as a Human Rights Committee!

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Presentation on theme: "Thank you for serving as a Human Rights Committee!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Thank you for serving as a Human Rights Committee!

2 The DMH Human Rights Infrastructure exists to ensure that the quality of care and the human dignity of each person we serve are upheld to their fullest potential. The Human Rights Committee supports the work of the Human Rights Coordinator and the Human Rights Officer. Together they work cooperatively with the program/facility to protect each individual’s civil and human rights. Balancing the rights of “least restrictive” and “self- determination” with the individuals’ safety, is at the forefront of their charge. These principles are guaranteed by law and regulation, but are also the key to recovery and promoting the greatest level of independence possible in the future.

3 The purpose of a Human Rights Committee is to monitor the Facility or Program with regards to the exercise and protection of the Human Rights of Clients and to advise the Facility or Program regarding how it might improve the implementation of Human Rights.

4 Duties of HRC Meet regularly (not less than quarterly) Make recommendations to the facility, program and to DMH to optimize the degree to which the HR of consumers are understood and upheld Review and make inquiry into complaints and allegations of consumer mistreatment, harm or violations of HR HRCs do not investigate complaints, but review, ask questions and may file appeals. Act on the behalf of a consumer pursuant to 104 CMR (e.g., file complaint on behalf of a consumer) Review and monitor the use of restraint and seclusion, where applicable Review incident and other relevant documents, such as treatment plans that limit or allegedly violate a consumer’s HR

5 Continued... Review and monitor the methods used to inform consumers of their rights Train consumers in the exercise of their HR Provide opportunities for consumers to exercise their HR to the fullest extent of their capabilities and interest Review and provide feedback to DMH, the facility or program concerning relevant policies and procedures – this is key to being productive and shaping the experience for consumers in facilities and programs Visit the facility or program at least once a year with prior notice or without notice provided good cause exists

6 Duties included in this list provide a tremendous opportunity for the HRC to be a viable, vital and valuable resource for the consumers, HROs and facilities/programs alike HRCs can develop a mission that is unique to the needs and capabilities of its members and staff, while maintaining its effectiveness How to Think About the Duties of HRC...

7 Authority of HRC The authority found for the HRC is found in the following: 104 CMR (2) 104 CMR (1-6) Human Rights Policy (pgs ) Human Rights Handbook (pgs )

8 Recruitment of Members Why People Join: Have some time to spare Want to do something with the time they have to help people Looking for a meaningful and satisfying experience Know someone with a mental illness or have a mental illness and want to look out for those interest and others similarly situated

9 Membership of the HRC should reflect the diversity of the communities served by the facility or program.

10 Categories of People that can Make up a HRC Consumers Family Members Advocates Clinicians Attorneys Guardians These categories should not be limiting, if a person has time to spare, a good sense of right and wrong and wants to help people, they can be a good candidate The composition of the committee should be balanced between consumer and other non- consumer community members Each committee must have a chairperson

11 Categories of People that can Make up a HRC Employees of the agency cannot be members of the HRC. Human Rights Officers and HR Coordinators are staff to the HRC and attend the meetings. They are not members but provide information from programs and individuals to the Committee meetings.

12 Who is Responsible for Recruiting New Members? Every member and staff person to the committee HRC Chairperson – some committees include spearheading recruitment effort in the duties of the chairperson

13 Recruitment Methods Word of mouth (probably the most effective recruitment effort) Post an advertisement on websites geared towards people looking to volunteer –Idealist.org –United Way Clearinghouse Network through other agencies Include articles about the good work of the HRC in the facility/program newsletter that is distributed to donors or other community stakeholders Post information flyers and/or personally outreach to –Churches/Houses of Worship –Colleges/Professional Schools –NAMI –M-Power –Hospitals –Etc.

14 Care/Maintenance of Members Thought on Volunteers –A volunteer should be asked and expected to do work (reasonable requests) –Volunteers need a purpose, they need to be valued, trained, and supported Reason people stay on a HRC –They are doing good work to benefit others –They can see positive results from their work –Their efforts are appreciated and valued –They feel like their time is being used well –They (the HRC members) feel good about themselves and feel like they have acquired new skills and knowledge that can be useful in other aspects of their lives

15 Effective Use of... An effective HRC provides –Support to the consumers of the facility/program –Support to the HROs and HRCoors –Support to the Facility/program How to Act as an effective HRC –Develop a collaborative and open relationship with the facility/program director The chairperson is key to lay out what the HRC hopes to be and accomplish –Build support for the HRC’s work by explaining how the committee can be helpful to not only the consumers, but the facility program itself

16 Options for Ways to Address an Issue –Letters to facility/program director –Meetings with facility/program director –Invitation to appropriate facility program staff to HRC meeting to discuss or gain explanations on new developments –File complaints

17 Options for Proactive Activities –Work with facility/program to identify projects that could incorporate HRC members experience and perspective –Organize/sponsor training opportunities


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