Behavioral Health Advocacy

 

Bill Albert
Program Director 

 

Jodie Gardill
Assistant Director &
Supervising Attorney 

Through individual advocacy, training, and outreach, the Behavioral Health program provides assistance to West Virginians living with mental and behavioral health disorders. We believe promoting community supports and preserving access to services is key to helping individuals and families meet their challenges with dignity and hope.

 

Children's Advocacy (FAST)

The Family Advocacy, Support & Training (FAST) program is a statewide parent and youth network that engages families in the planning, management and evaluation of their child's mental health treatment and service needs. 

Who is eligible for FAST services?

Young children and students (0 - 21 years) who live in West Virginia, have a mental health, co-occuring or co-existing diagnosis, and who are struggling or experiencing discrimination in school or early learning programs because of their mental health challenges.  

Priority for services will be given to families participating in Safe at Home WV, or children's wraparound initiatives.   

Some of the ways FAST can help:

- Working with families and school officials to develop individual education plans (IEPs).

- Facilitating discussions between schools and families about how to manage a child's problem behaviors in a way that is fair, and designed to keep the child in public school.

- Helping resolve legal concerns that directly impact a child's academic success, incuding problems with accessing appropriate education services, issues of custody and adoption, and acquisition of benefits, transportation and housing.

- Providing linkage and referrals to appropriate services.

- Assisting with transitions between schools and school districts.

- Identifying supports to prevent dropout, truancy, and disciplinary actions, and to encourage postsecondary education.



 

Adult Advocacy

Provides support and services to adults with behavioral and mental health disorders who are living in the community, as well as to the residents of Mildred Mitchell-Bateman and William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospitals.

The work of Legal Aid of West Virginia's adult advocates includes:

  • Education and training of hospital staff and other behavioral health professionals.
  • Investigation of complaints and grievances by individuals in the State’s two mental and behavioral health inpatient facilities.
  • Referral and community linkage for challenged individuals and their families.
  • Establishment of community supports for those with mental and behavioral disorders, such as housing and benefits.