Office of Consumer and Family Affairs
Protection of Consumer Rights
The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs works to see that the rights of people with mental illness are protected and to encourage and facilitate consumer and family input into all aspects of an individual’s treatment and plan for recovery. The Office produces the Consumer Rights Statement [PDF] and works with community based providers to adopt similar policy statements. It also develops initiatives to support peer counseling, wellness/recovery living, crisis planning and family support to promote self-determination.
Advocacy and Peer Support
The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs works with consumer led advocacy groups to help consumers and their families understand their illness, their rights and services available through the public mental health system. It sponsors regular peer specialist training to empower self-advocacy. It also organizes the annual Olmstead Conference to promote community integration and to address barriers to community based treatment and supports. In connection with the “DC One Community for All” initiative, the District’s ten collaborating agencies release an informational summary [PDF] of their goals, milestones, and accomplishments from Fiscal Year 2012. The Summary highlights the steps taken by each agency to ensure that individuals with disabilities living in institutional settings – or at risk of being institutionalized - have the choice to transition to community living with appropriate supports when available.
Policies, Rules and Procedures Governing Consumer Rights and Protection
The Office and Consumer and Family Affairs assures federal and District consumer safeguards through promulgating and updating rules on consumer rights and grievance procedures. The Office also develops and analyzes data from the annual consumer grievance report to detect trends or practices that require focused attention.
Grievance and Dispute Resolution
The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs manages and oversees the grievance and dispute resolution process [PDF]. It reviews all formal grievances whether services are received from government operated programs, community mental health providers or Saint Elizabeths Hospital and monitors compliance with agreed upon resolutions.