Recent News and Current Events

Recent News and Current Events2021-06-18T10:15:18-06:00
Jul21, 2021

PAIMI Advisory Council Opening

By |July 21st, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|

Disability Rights Montana is seeking a volunteer attorney to serve on its Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council (PAIMI Council). The PAIMI Council advises DRM on its priority and objectives in carrying out its responsibilities.

The PAIMI Council is comprised of mental health providers, individuals with mental illness and family members of people with mental ill.  The council meets four times a year. Please contact Bernie for more information at (406) 449-2344 or email at bernie@disabilityrightsmt.org

Click here to learn more about DRM

Click here for the application to apply

Jul20, 2021

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana is closing facilities because they can’t find workers!

By |July 20th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|

Person opening black leather jacket to reveal black shirt that says "Mental Health Matters"

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana is closing facilities because they can’t find workers! 

Calling all students who need a practicum in the behavioral health or developmental disability fields: Montana’s most vulnerable need your help, and there is a dire need for workers in your field right now. Below we have identified a number of our member organizations that can offer you an opportunity to work as soon as you are available. We highly encourage you to reach out to the contacts mentioned below to see what opportunities exist for you.

See opportunities here: https://montanabehavioralhealth.org/practicum-students-montana-needs-you/

Jul16, 2021

Disability Rights Montana, Montana Empowerment Center and the Office of Public Instruction Collaborate for Families, Students and Educators

By |July 16th, 2021|Categories: Quarterly Story|

Families who have navigated the education world know how complex, confusing, and difficult it can be at times. As the protection and advocacy agency, we believe in the rights of all students, including students with disabilities, to access equitable and appropriate education alongside their peers.

In the fall of 2020, DRM, the Office of Public Instruction, and Montana’s Parent Training and Information Center, Montana Empowerment Center, came together with one shared mission: ensuring that all students with disabilities have the supports they need to succeed. These three agencies joined forces with the goal of creating collaborative supports for educators, administrators, and families in Montana.

The Coalition started based on the idea that collaboration is essential in using our limited resources in the most efficient way. We recognize that each agency plays a critical yet different role in the world of education. Identifying common interests and best practices between the three agencies and throughout the state will help bridge gaps within the education world and ultimately benefit Montana’s students. The Coalition is about collaboration at the state level through sharing information and ideas, sharing goals around specific areas, and understanding one another’s roles and responsibilities.

Similar collaborations across the nation have fostered close working relationships between State Education Agencies, Protection and Advocacy Agencies, and Parent Training and Information Centers. These collaborations have achieved positive outcomes sharing the same goal: improving outcomes for all children. As our Coalition effort has blossomed, we’re excited to share our first collaborative resource guide defining the roles and functions of each agency in an effort to make it easier for families. We look forward to continuing this work together.

Click the image below to download the resource guide.

Image of page 1 of the Education coalition resource. Click image to download the resource.
Image of page 2 of the Education coalition resource. Click image to download the resource.
Jun18, 2021

MT Shares Annual Raffle

By |June 18th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|

The 27th annual Montana Shares raffle is now underway and the drawing will be held on September 17, 2021. Support Disability Rights Montana and other Montana non-profits and become eligible for great prizes. You need not be present to win. Winners will be notified by mail and will be posted within two weeks after the drawing on the Montana Shares website.

There are 33 fabulous prizes, including 14 prize packages this year! Raffle tickets are $10 per ticket, 3 tickets for $25, 6 tickets for $40, or 18 tickets for $100.

Money collected from the raffle helps Montana Shares’ program budget, which in turn, helps them support members with the ongoing work to invest in Montana’s human, animal, cultural and natural resources. Click on the images below for a list of prizes and printable raffle tickets. Tickets must be received by Montana Shares by September 16, 2021. To enter the raffle, print and complete the number of tickets you’d like to purchase and mail them along with payment to:

Montana Shares
PO Box 833
Helena, MT 59624

Image link to PDF list of raffle prizes
Link to printable link to sheet of 18 tickets
Jun15, 2021

“Will you be my Advocate?”

By |June 15th, 2021|Categories: Quarterly Story|

White female with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is wearing a white scarf, black shirt, and a yellow lace cardigan.

Stephanie is an energetic young woman who wants to live a full life like everyone else in their mid-twenties. She met her DRM advocate in the fall of 2019 when she was living in a group home with seven other people, many of whom were considerably older than her and had support needs very different from Stephanie’s. Stephanie asked, “Will you be my advocate?” and explained that she wants to move to her own apartment, have a job in the community, and make friends her age. She explained that she needed an advocate because she felt her team was not listening to her and did not support her wishes.

Disability Rights Montana (DRM) receives the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) grant that allows staff to advocate for the rights of Montanans with developmental disabilities. Some of those rights are getting to choose where a person wants to live as well as receiving services in the least restrictive environment, that is a setting allowing a person to live as fully integrated in a community as possible.

Based on Stephanie’s request, the DRM advocate started to attend Stephanie’s monthly team meetings in the fall of 2019 to advocate for Stephanie’s wishes and to ensure Stephanie’s voice was heard. Team members included a targeted case manager, community provider staff who had known and worked with Stephanie for the past 6 years, and a representative of DPHHS’ Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP). The DRM advocate’s role in this setting was to repeatedly urge the team members to evaluate every possible option for Stephanie to move to a less restrictive environment as well as to discuss how to address a potentially needed increase in Medicaid funding with DDP’s Regional Management.

Montana does not have enough community placements for people like Stephanie and DRM understands that it can feel like fighting windmills to find a more appropriate, less restrictive place to live for someone like Stephanie who already lived in the community. It is DRM’s role in those moments to remind everyone on the team that this is Stephanie’s life, that she is her own guardian, and that her wishes and decisions are the driver of the team process and its decision-making. She deserves to be heard and it is on her team to do everything possible to locate and secure the least restrictive environment in which Stephanie can thrive and reach her full potential.

After 1.5 years of attending monthly team meetings, assisting the team in evaluating potential provider options, encouraging all team members to continue the effort for Stephanie while not losing sight of the good work Stephanie’s current provider was doing, the team learned in December 2020 that a community service provider in Billings was hoping to have Stephanie join their services as soon as the referral process was finalized.

Stephanie moved from Missoula to Billings on March 1, 2021 on a beautiful, sunshine-filled Montana day. She is now living in a house with two housemates about her age and with similar support needs. Her new staff at Casey’s Dream assist her in getting to know Billings, finding new favorite places, and becoming more independent in her new apartment.

Apr5, 2021

PAIMI Public Forum – We Want to Hear From You!

By |April 5th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|

We Want to Hear From You!

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Program

PUBLIC FORUM

On April 20-22, 2021, representatives from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) will be conducting a virtual monitoring visit of Disability Rights Montana (DRM), the Protection and Advocacy System for the State of Montana.

SAMHSA/CMHS invites you to send comments about the PAIMI Program services and activities conducted by Disability Rights Montana.

Please send your comments to SAMHSA/CMHS by email to PAIMI@samhsa.hhs.gov or mail to the PAIMI Program Coordinator, SAMHSA/CMHS, 5600 Fishers Lane, Suite 14E25D, Rockville, Maryland 20857.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Bernadette Franks-Ongoy,
Executive Director
Email: bernie@disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone: (406) 449-2344

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