The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee's DYS Project seeks to provide legal services for youth involved with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). We accept referrals from parents, legal guardians (including the Department of Children and Families), other caregivers, providers, agency staff, and advocates.
The DYS Project has a particular focus on the issues of: mental health care and assessment; education, appropriate placement; restraint, disability discrimination, and transition to the community.
To view the resources published by the DYS Project, including our project pamphlet, checklists, newsletters, and resource guide on the rights of DYS-involved youth, click HERE
What We Do
The DYS Project provides effective legal representation and assistance in the following ways:
Legal Consultation for Parents and Youth
MHLAC attorneys are available to consult with parents and youth by telephone or in person, including at DYS facilities, upon request to provide legal information, advice, guidance and referrals.
MHLAC attorneys will consider representing youth in legal proceedings involving on such issues as access to mental health care and education, including special education.
Training and Education
MHLAC attorneys are available to provide training to lay persons or professionals in the areas of law relevant to DYS-involved youth, such as special education, access to mental health services, rights regarding the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative, restraint, rights in facilities, and disability law.
MHLAC attorneys maintain contact with a variety of Massachusetts organizations that represent, support and advocate for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.