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Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

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Locations
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 1212
Washington, WA 20005
United States
Ads
Phone
202-467-5730
Fax
202-223-0409
Contact
Email contact form
Website
http://www.bazelon.org/



Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

For three decades, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has been the nation's leading legal advocate for people with mental disabilities. Our precedent-setting litigation has outlawed institutional abuse and won protections against arbitrary confinement. In the courts and in Congress, our advocacy has opened up public schools, workplaces, housing and other opportunities for people with mental disabilities to participate in community life.

Mission
The mission of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Center envisions an America where people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities exercise their own life choices and have access to the resources that enable them to participate fully in their communities.

Work
Their advocacy is based on the principle that every individual is entitled to choice and dignity. For many people with mental disabilities, this means something as basic as having a decent place to live, supportive services and equality of opportunity. The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law uses a coordinated approach of litigation, policy analysis, coalition-building, public information and technical support for local advocates in four broad areas of advocacy:
A new vision of hope, dignity and human rights-- a realistic possibility for people with serious mental disabilities because important federal laws, won through three decades of advocacy, protect their rights in the areas of housing, health care, education, employment and life as full members of their communities. They work to defend these hard-won rights, focusing on preserving anti-discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and implementing the recovery-oriented mental health system recommended by the President's New Freedom Commission.
Access to opportunity-- for children, through reforming the foster care system and enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, with its mandate of positive behavioral supports; for college and university students, urging educational institutions to reform discriminatory mental health policies that punish students for seeking treatment; and for adults, promoting and preserving access to Medicaid rehabilitation services and ensuring access to public benefits for people with mental illnesses being released from incarceration.
Self-determination and respect for choice--People with mental disabilities have the right to take charge of their own lives, free from coercion and invasion of privacy. This includes economic self-sufficiency and the ability to vote for the leaders whose decisions will affect their lives. It also means that individuals should have a voice in their treatment decisions and control over who has access to their treatment records. We work to expand the use and recognition of advance directives for psychiatric care, encourage replication of self-directed care models and enforce the voting rights of people with disabilities.
Accountability of public systems--People with mental disabilities should not be punished for the system's failures to provide access to the resources they need for stable lives and meaningful participation in the community. We hold public systems accountable for the safety and welfare of those they serve--challenging exclusion from school of children with emotional disorders and segregation of people with disabilities in nursing homes, institutions and "adult homes," and combating the criminalization of people with mental illnesses.

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