Legal Rights of Youth diagnosed with Mental Illness Living in Residential Facilities

Brandy Tomlinson, J.D., and Joshua Rosenthal, J.D.

Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is New York's Protection and Advocacy agency. Under our federal authority we monitor children's residential treatment centers and residential treatment facilities and investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. Our monitoring work includes speaking with staff and youth, physically touring facilities, and reviewing policies and procedures.

This workshop will provide a discussion of the legal rights of youth diagnosed with mental illness living in residential facilities that is the focus of our work. It will address issues of concern, including restraint and seclusion, overmedication, inadequate special education services, and other types of abuse and neglect.

Objective: To educate and raise awareness among advocates and mental health professionals about issues affecting children and adolescents diagnosed with mental illness living in residential programs. In addition, this workshop will offer practical advice and strategies on advocating for the rights and well-being of youth in these placements.

Learning Goals: Participants will understand the legal rights of youth diagnosed with mental illness living in residential facilities, learn how to identify legal issues and access tools and resources to effectively advocate for this population.