Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts
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About MHLAC Projects

The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee houses a number of special projects which focus their work on a particular population in order to maximize legal assistance. Presently, MHLAC has two such projects which are active in legal representation: the Clubhouse Family Legal Support Project (CFLSP) and the DYS Project.

The CLFSP was established in 1999 to provide legal representation and assistance to low income parents diagnosed with a mental illness who are seeking to access or regain custody of their children. Parents diagnosed with mental illness are at high risk of losing custody of and/or all contact with their children in the family courts, particularly if they are without legal representation. The CFLSP is a partnership between MHLAC and the metro-west clubhouse, Employment Options, Inc. The Project is supported and funded by the Department of Mental Health (DMH), and theMassachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF).

The DYS Project was created in 2005 to provide legal information, advice, and representation to youth involved with the Department of Youth Services, as well as to their families, and advocates. The Project provides legal representation on civil matters to post-dispositional DYS-involved youth with a focus on access to quality mental health care and education services for those confined or in the community. The Project is primarily staffed by an AmeriCorps Fellow and supervised by an MHLAC attorney. The DYS Project has many publications including the newly released third edition of Just for Youth: Advocating for Youths in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (2010).

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