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					                                                                         update                                           Winter 2010
                                       A nonprofit organization protecting and advancing the legal rights of people with mental disabilities.




What a Relief! Finding the Best of Both Worlds
Los Angeles County Board of                              MHAS fights for effective treatment for dual-diagnosis clients

                                                         U
Supervisors Approves Restructuring                            ntil she was ten years old, “Teresa” was a happy, well-adjusted
Plan for General Relief Program                               little girl who did well in school and got along with other chil-

O     n February 11, after nearly a year of re-          dren. Suddenly one summer, she stopped interacting with her family.
      search and negotiations, a working group           Shortly thereafter, she began experiencing terrifying hallucinations.
made up of representatives from 11 County                She saw and felt spiders and heard frightening voices.
departments and 10 community stakeholder                 Teresa was di-
groups finally had the opportunity to present            agnosed       with
their plan for restructuring the General Relief          childhood onset
program to the Board of Supervisors. The                 schizophrenia,
Los Angeles County General Relief program                a rare illness af-
provides a temporary monthly stipend to low-             fecting only one
income individuals who are not being served              out of 40,000
by the State or Federal government. There are            children. By the
currently over 90,000 individuals participat-            time Teresa was
ing in the program, an increase of 50% over              14, her mother
the past two years of the economic crisis.               was forced to
Sherrill Martin, Mental Health Advocacy Ser-             place her in a res-
vices’ Government Benefits Program Manag-                idential Depart-
er, has been a key member of the team since              ment of Mental
its inception. Her lengthy experience working            Health (DMH)
                                                         facility.               Many children with mental disabilities could benefit
for the Social Security Administration com-                                      from therapies for developmental disabilities, too.
bined with her tenure managing MHAS’ team                The staff who
of Advocates gave her a wealth of insight into           worked with Te-
the challenges facing people with disabilities           resa were concerned that she seemed to have mental retardation and
as they try to navigate the process of applying          that her condition did not respond to medication. Upon further inves-
for and maintaining benefits.                            tigation, they learned that a drowning accident had happened when
A keystone of the new plan is to help as                 Teresa was 10 that may have deprived her brain of oxygen. The staff
many eligible General Relief participants as             thought she might have brain damage that required the type of treat-
possible qualify for federal Supplemental                ment provided to people with developmental disabilities, so they con-
Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal benefits.             tacted the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).
In this way, the program can save money                  Under DDS guidelines, if Teresa’s condition required treatment like
for the County by maximizing Federal                     mental retardation, she should qualify for services. DDS evaluated
resources. The plan includes an increase in              Teresa but denied her eligibility, determining that her condition was
nursing staff employed by the County to help             solely psychiatric.
clients track down and complete the complex
                                                         DMH staff contacted Mental Health Advocacy Services for help, and
documentation required for SSI applications. It
                                                         Attorney Ben Conway took the case. MHAS negotiated a placement for
also calls for enhanced screening of incoming
                                                         Teresa in a DDS residential facility while the appeals were pending.
                           continued on page 4                                                                        continued on page 2
                                                                                                                                           1
Both Worlds                                                             MHAS BoArd of directorS
continued from page 1
                                                                        Catherine Allen, Esq., Hunton & Williams LLP
The effect on Teresa was astonishing. Mr. Conway describes the          Jane A. Anderson
difference in her behavior at the new placement as “night and day.”     Taylor S. Ball, Esq., Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
                                                                        Heidi M. Binford, Esq.
The combination of a new therapeutic approach and an environ-
                                                                        Kathleen Daly, M.D., Los Angeles County Department
ment where Teresa was living with other children who were at a             of Mental Health
similar developmental level meant that her communication skills         Houman Ehsan, M.D., Esq., O’Melveny & Myers LLP
and other symptoms started to improve. For the first time since she     Lucy Eisenberg, Esq.
was 10, she was able to join her peers on community outings and         Douglas L. Hall, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc.
                                                                        Shirley L. Kirby, Esq.
meaningfully interact with her mother.                                  Jeromie Park, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
In December, the California Superior Court issued a decision in         Alan R. Polsky, Esq., The Polsky Law Firm
                                                                        Neil A. Rubin, Esq., Latham & Watkins LLP
Teresa’s favor, granting her eligibility for the services provided by   Prof. Elyn Saks, USC Gould School of Law
DDS Regional Centers. DDS has appealed the case to the Court of         Kristin N. Tahler, Esq., Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher
Appeal, and MHAS will continue to fight for Teresa to receive the          & Flom LLP
services she needs. Equally important, a positive appellate deci-       Susan J. Troy, Martin Linen Supply Company
                                                                        Whitney Walters, Esq., Sheppard Mullin Richter &
sion could set a precedent for other children with similar condi-
                                                                           Hampton LLP
tions to qualify for Regional Center services, granting access for      Gregory J. Weingart, Esq., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
appropriate services for many children with dual diagnoses.             Board affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.



                                                                        AdviSory BoArd
Shopping for Justice                                                    Alexander M. Capron
                                                                        Areta Crowell
                                                                                                                Jo Kaplan
                                                                                                                David Meyer

W     hen you link your Ral-
      phs Club Card to Mental
Health Advocacy Services, up to
                                                                        Edmund D. Edelman
                                                                        Arthur N. Greenberg
                                                                                                                Ralph Shapiro
                                                                                                                Richard Van Horn
                                                                        David H. Guthman                        Eduardo Vega
5% of every dollar you spend*                                           Grover Heyler
will be donated to MHAS. To
link your card, visit www.Ralphs.com and log in to the Ralphs
Rewards section. Under Community Contributions, enter NPO #             StAff
81317 or search for Mental Health Advocacy Services by name to          James Preis, Executive Director
designate MHAS as your beneficiary.                                     Program Staff
You can also download a scannable barcode at mhas-la.org that           Pat Abs, Staff Advocate
                                                                        Maggie Brandow, Staff Attorney
you can take with you to the store. Even if you have registered
                                                                        John Cisneroz, Staff Advocate
MHAS as your choice in the past, you must re-register each year.
                                                                        Benjamin Conway, Staff Attorney
It’s an easy way to make your regular grocery shopping support          Linda Cormack, Staff Advocate
our work to help people with mental disabilities.                       Ruth Cusick, Staff Attorney - Skadden Fellow
*Some restrictions apply. Contribution amounts are between 1% and 5%.   Sherrill Martin, Program Manager, Government Benefits
                                                                        Pamela Marx, Supervising Attorney
                                                                        Luz A. O’Neil, Staff Advocate
                                                                        Fernando Ramirez, Staff Advocate
    mental HealtH advocacy ServiceS, inc.                               Nancy M. Shea, Senior Attorney
    is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. The mission          Carey Stone, Staff Attorney
                                                                        Vanessa Torres, Staff Advocate
    of MHAS is to protect and advance the legal rights of chil-
                                                                        Madeline Walder, Staff Advocate
    dren and adults with mental disabilities, in order to maximize      Mary V. Webster, Staff Advocate
    autonomy, promote equality, and secure the resources needed
                                                                        adminiStrative Staff
    to thrive in the community.
                                                                        Renee Cook, Director of Administration and
                 Mental Health Advocacy Services                           Development
                  3255 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 902                        Sarah Gustafson, Project Manager
                     Los Angeles, CA 90010                              Angel Martinez, Administrative Assistant
                                                                        Jesse Norgaard, Office Assistant
                 213-389-2077 www.mhas-la.org
                                                                        Nicole Roberts, Development Manager

2                                                                                                Mental Health Advocacy Services
            In a most challenging year, your support made our work possible.
           Thank you to the following donors for their generous gifts in 2009:
STARS                                  Desiree Pierce                    Judith Johnson                     Penelope Glass                         Barry E. Shanley
($5,000 or more)                       Alan R. Polsky                    Robert and Marilyn Johnson         Megan Goldstein                        Sam Shapiro
                                       Gary D. Roberts                   Kawahito & Shraga LLP              GoodSearch                             Dana Sherman
James and Imelda Allen                 Larry and Linda Rosenthal         Robin Kay                          Michael Greene                         Jonathan Shimkus
Anonymous                              Sandy Sigal                       Hon. Clifford L. Klein             Allen Gross                            Ron Sievers
Kathleen Daly                          Ann and Christopher Stone         Deborah Koeffler                   L. R. Grossman                         Joan and Alan H. Simon
The Carl and Roberta Deutsch           Catherine and Leonard Unger       Ann R. Lane                        Michael and Judith Grunstein           Adolfo and Carrie Siqueiros
   Foundation                          Evelyn Vodhanel                   Susan Mandel                       Kevin Hanna                            Kathleen Smalley
Lucy and David Eisenberg               Whitney Walters                   Cheryl White Mason                 Lindsay Harrell                        Janet K. Smith
Equal Justice Works                    Jill Troy Werner                  Steven A. McGinty                  Gordon Hendler                         Carol and Charles Smith
The Los Angeles County Bar             J.P. Williams                     Buf Meyer and Jonathan Steinberg   Hirschmann Law Group                   Ed and Pat Stanton
   Foundation                                                            Alvin and Lisa Michaelson          Ralph and Karen Hirschmann             Stephanie Tainsky
The Morrison & Foerster                                                  Stephen J. Morse                   Kaaren Hoffman                         Annette Tarsky
   Foundation                                                            Robert M. Myers                    Dr. and Mrs. E. Carmack Holmes         Vicki and Rich Tashman
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP                                               Susan E. Nash                      Andrew Howard                          Jana Tether
The Skadden Fellowship                                                   Newman Aaronson Vanaman            iGive.com                              Sue Toigo
   Foundation                                                            Ruth Olson                         Steaven and Judith Jones               Barbara and Heiman Van Dam
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &                                          Patricia B. Oppenheim              Laurie Judge                           Jonathan and Barbara Varat
   Flom LLP                                                              Robert and Andrea Ordin            Johan A. Julin and Scott P.            Caroline T. Vincent
The Stuart Foundation                                                    Berta E. Ortiz                        Pacheco                             Lori Waldinger
The S. Mark Taper Foundation                                             Jeromie Park                       Gregory C. Keating                     Belinda Smith Walker
Gregory Weingart                                                         James L. Perzik                    Andrew Keats                           David and Ronnie Weingart
                                                                         Betsy Pfromm                       James Kirby                            Ron Weintraub
CHAMPIONS                                                                James Powers                       Kelly Kirby                            Michael T. Wicen
($1,000 - 4,999)                                                         Michael J. Proctor                 Jolene Konnersman                      Dan and Barbara Willick
                                                                         Nora Quinn                         Helen Kozberg                          Jon and Gisele Wine
Catherine Allen                                                          Ralphs Grocery                     Stephen Kristovich                     Stanley and Dorothy Wolpert
Jane and Ken Anderson                                                    Marlene and Michael Rapkin         Scott Kruse                            Cristin Zeisler
Helen Bing                                                               Michael R. Rhames                  Luis and Lee Lainer                    Peter and Cheryl Ziegler
Deborah and Andrew Bogen                                                 Rhino Entertainment                John and Rachel Land                   Stuart Zimring
Casey Carrington                                                         Karen Rothberg                     Crystal Lara
Areta Crowell                                                            Andrew E. Rubin
Alexander W. Faust                                                       Herbert C. Rubinstein
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
                                      Jim Preis presents the Advocates   David E. Ryu
Douglas L. Hall                                                          Linda A. Sallas
Grover and Caroline Heyler                 Award to Terri Cheney
                                                                         Ray Sandona
Hunton & Williams LLP                  SUPPORTERS                        David I. Schulman
The Jewish Communal Fund               ($150 - 499)                      Erika and Oscar Scremin
Shirley and Matthew Kirby                                                Kenneth and Mary Simon
Roger L. Kohn                          Barbara H. Ackermann              Michael E. Soloff and Sue L.
Marilyn and Marshall Martinez          Robert and Sara Adler                Himmelrich
Prof. Elyn Saks                        Nicholas R. Allis                 Arthur and Diane Spring
Ralph and Shirley Shapiro              David Anderson                    Alice E. Stevenson
Sidney Stern Memorial Trust            Attorney Network Services, Inc.   Ann Stone and Dave Pilon
Susan Troy and Larry Zipursky          Lupe Ayala                        Hon. Maria E. Stratton
Richard and Kay Van Horn               Taylor and Jennifer Ball          Linda and Carl Stude
Mary Jane Wagle                        Jenna Blaustein and Robert        Kristin N. Tahler
The Weingart Foundation                   Leventer                       William Temko and Sarah
Wells Fargo                            David E. Bower                       Bowman
Owen and Jami Witte                    Phillip Bowman                    Valerie Vanaman
                                       Anita D. Brandow                  Anne Von Der Ahe                                   MHAS clients,staff, and board
BENEFACTORS                            Peter D. Brandow                  Madeline Walder                                    members enjoy Dodger Night.
($500-999)                             Jody and Richard Chutick          Stephen E. Webber                  Sean and Gwen Leonard                  IN-KIND DONORS
                                       Mr. and Mrs. James P. Clark       Malcolm Weiss                      Anna Levine                            (Donors of goods or services)
Achieving America Family Foundation    Devora S. Cohen and Marc L.                                          Laura Loofbourrow
Anonymous                                 Sallus                                                                                                   Jane and Ken Anderson
                                                                         FRIENDS                            Miguel Loza
Steven Grossman and Jill Baldauf       Norma J. Cook                                                                                               Douglas L. Hall
                                                                         (up to $149)                       Mr. and Mrs. Jerome W. Lubin
John H. Binford and Cindy Sherman-     Allan B. Cutrow                                                                                             The Irvine Foundation
                                                                                                            Mary A. Lulucki
    Binford                            Jad T. Davis                      Fred Alavi                                                                Los Angeles County Bar Foundation
                                                                                                            Barbara Demming Lurie
Heidi M. Binford                       Bert Deixler                      Anonymous                                                                 Sherrill Martin
                                                                                                            Sherrill Martin
Brad and Claire Brian                  Richard and Nancy Esbenshade      Lawrence R. Apodaca                                                       Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
                                                                                                            Natalie Matsler
Connie Bruck and Mel Levine            Houman Ehsan                      Ellis M. Balsam                                                           Woodenhead Vintners
                                                                                                            Jane B. Matz
Stephen R. English                     Lori and Miguel Ferrer            Susie and Stuart Berton            Gary Meisel
Richard Gruner                         Terry Friedman and Elise Karl     Nancy Bott                                                                TRIBUTES
                                                                                                            Samuel I. Miles
Hansen, Jacobson, Teller,              Jonathan L. Friedman              Scott Burleigh                     Neal Millard
    Hoberman, Newman, Warren &         Peter B. Gelblum                  JoAnn Clark                                                               Gifts were made in 2009 in
                                                                                                            Gerald Minsk
    Richman, LLP                       Arthur and Audrey Greenberg       Benjamin T. Conway                                                        honor of the following:
                                                                                                            Hon. Anthony J. Mohr
Jewish Community Foundation            Paul and Louise Greenberg         Renee Cook                                                                Jane and Ken Anderson
                                                                                                            Carol and Emmett Morava
Mark Kadzielski                        John H. Griffith                  Jan Costello and Richard                                                  Maggie Brandow
                                                                                                            Berda Morley
Chris and Mary Ellen Kanoff            Byron Gross                          Rothschild                                                             Renee Cook
                                                                                                            David Morris
   Family Foundation                   David Guthman                     Ruth Cusick                                                               Lucy Eisenberg
                                                                                                            Tiana Murillo
Mickey Kantor and Heidi                Hadsell Stormer Keeny             Judith Daar                                                               Peter Gelblum
                                                                                                            Allan and Janie Orenstein
   Schulman                               Richardson & Renick LLP        Bonnie L. Davis                                                           David Guthman
                                                                                                            Steven Perry and Christine
Law Offices of Nora Quinn              John S. Hatakeyama                Robert E. Denham                                                          Doug Hall
                                                                                                               Madsen
Brian Vaughan and Ruth McKee           Patti and Kevin Hearst            Theresa Destito                                                           Shirley Kirby
                                                                                                            Jerry Persky
Jill and David Meyer                   Margo Herman                      Anita Dymant and Richard                                                  Sherrill Martin
                                                                                                            Gregory Pleasants
Betty L. Nordwind                      John and Suzanne Hollister           Drooyan                                                                Patt Oppenheim
                                                                                                            Marc J. Poster
                                                                         Sharon Dunas                       Carolyn Pratt                          James Preis
                                                                         Susan Edelman and Sandor Fuchs     Peter K. Preis                         Elyn Saks
                                                                         William Edmonson                   James Preis                            Marvin and Carolyn Southard
                                                                         Fareed Elcott                      Fernando Ramirez                       Susan Troy
                                                                         Marion and Irving Fein             Diana K. Reid                          Richard Van Horn
                                                                         Audrey Fimpler                     Julie Reising                          Gregory and Juanita Weingart
                                                                         Gregg Fisch                        Sara Ritter
                                                                         Barbara Fisher and Michael Scott   Nicole Roberts                         Gifts were made in 2009 in
                                                                         Barbara Flicker                    Claire E. Rogger                       memory of the following:
                                                                         Michael Franklin                   Nicole W. and John A. Ruskey           Ben Brickman
                                                                         Georgia Franklin Shutan            Hon. Philip M. Saeta                   Katharine Krause
                                                                         Grant Fraser                       Scott and Lori Sale                    Frank J. Vodhanel
                                                                         Joan L. Freeman                    San Fernando Valley AMI
                                                                         Cora Fullmore                      Nadia Sarkis                           Every effort has been made to print
                                                                         G & C Equipment Corporation        Carol Scherfenberg and Bonnie          correct information. Please notify us of
                                                                         Steven and Andrea Gardner             Dostie                              any errors or omissions.
                                                                         Debra Garvey                       Ron Schraiber
                   MHAS 2009 Summer Clerks

   Winter 2010 Update                                                                                                                                                                     3
General Relief Restructuring
continued from page 1
participants to quickly move them into the appropriate tracks based on
whether they are employable or permanently disabled.
The most dramatic element of the new plan will be a major expansion
of a housing subsidy program the County has been testing. When
fully implemented, it will extend this additional benefit to 10,000
individuals, providing them with $400 a month towards housing.
During the trial period, the subsidy was provided to 900 people each
month, and the County found that every dollar spent resulted in savings
of $3.50 on other services that would have been provided to homeless
individuals.
The working group estimates that the program will not only pay for itself but ultimately it will generate a net savings for the
County at a time when funding for social services is so scarce. Something as simple as a little extra money for rent and help
negotiating the complex strata of benefits applications can make all the difference in the world to a person with a mental dis-
ability, as Ms. Martin and her fellow Benefits Advocates know so well. Mental Health Advocacy Services is proud to have
been a part of this historic effort!


                       Sign up for Mental Health Advocacy Services’ Fair Housing Tip of the Month! Get important consumer
                       information like how to request reasonable accomodations and answer questions from prospective landlords.
                                             Visit mhas-la.org/FairHousingIndex.htm for more information.
                                            The Fair Housing Tip of the Month is funded by a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing &
                                                Urban Development Fair Housing Initiatives Program (Grant #FH400G08074).




A nonprofit organization protecting and advancing
the legal rights of people with mental disabilities.

3255 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 902
Los Angeles, CA 90010

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