Meeting of June 4, 2016

Proposed Minutes

Members Present


Patricia Highley Veronica Myers (Chair)
Tina Light (Vice Chair) Eddie Smith
Dorcas Johnson Elaine Williams
Brenda Martin TaVonda Williams (Secretary)


Also Present


John Jones  
Tom Masseau  
Lisa Moss  
Debra Poulin  


Chair Veronica Myers called the meeting to order at 10:00 am.

Approval of Minutes

 Brenda Martin moved the proposed minutes for the PAC meeting of June 4, 2016 be approved.  Tina Light seconded and the motion passed.

Discussion:  Candidates for PAIMI AC membership

 John Jones introduced Dorcas Johnson of Bella Vista.  He said that Ms. Johnson is a psychiatric nurse who has retired from the VA system.  Since then she has been active on the board of the NW Arkansas chapter of Mental Health America.  Mr. Jones continued that Ms. Johnson’s experience in psychiatric inpatient settings and her work as a board member of Mental Health America would be directly applicable to the PAC’s mission.  As the members had already review Ms. Johnson’s application, Elaine Williams moved that she be approved as a member of the PAC.  Tina Light seconded and the motion passed.

Eddie Smith introduced Lisa Moss.  He said he had met Ms. Moss through his work with the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS) and was impressed with her qualifications, abilities, and potential.  Ms. Moss spoke briefly about her experiences and about the unique challenges placed on persons with “invisible disabilities.”  Ms. Moss was asked to complete a membership application for consideration at the next PAC meeting.

Staff/Services Report

 Tom Masseau, Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA) Executive Director, presented a brief PAIMI financial report.  He gave an overview of budget areas and said that expenditures are about right for this point of the fiscal year.

Debra Poulin, DRA Legal Director, provided an overview of PAIMI advocacy in several areas:

  • The Arkansas Career Training Institute in Hot Springs is a “comprehensive rehabilitation center” operated by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Department of Career Education. DRA outreach to this facility has revealed that the quality of training and education provided to residents appears to be very low, with a noticeable lack of accommodations and supports for individuals with mental illness.
  • As reported before, DRA/PAIMI continues to monitor conditions and treatment, as well as providing individual advocacy services, in the state’s Human Development Centers (HDCs,) with special attention paid to the Booneville and Warren HDCs, where serious abuse and neglect have been evident. Most of the residents of the Booneville HDC and many of the Warren HDC residents are dually diagnosed with mental illness and developmental disability conditions.  Poulin noted that staff of the facilities and the state agency administering the HDCs (DHS/Developmental Disabilities Services) are being more cooperative now and some improvements there are being noted.
  • Poulin will be presenting a workshop on “Psychiatric Advance Directives” at the Arkansas Annual Mental Health Institute in August. She hopes this workshop will give us information about current uses of these legal instruments and perhaps identify mental health centers interested in joint work to increase their use.
  • An area of increasing concern is the near-total lack of appropriate transitional supports and services for persons returning to the community from prison. Poulin noted that many of these individuals have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Mr. Jones presented a summary of PAIMI individual advocacy cases so far this fiscal year.  He reported 76 cases overall, with 14 involving abuse, 15 involving neglect, and 47 involving rights violations.  The problem area most often listed–in fact, making up over half of all FY 2016 cases–involved “failure to provide education (consistent with IDEA and state requirements.)”  Mr. Jones concluded by saying that this preponderance of Special Education cases is not reflected in the PAIMI Program Plan.

FY 2017 Planning

 Mr. Jones recommended that the PAC select one area and focus planning efforts in that area.  A general discussion ensued, with consideration for such matters as prison issues, re-entry from prison issues, and education issues.  A consensus emerged that the problems of many persons who end up in prison begin with a lack of appropriate supports and services in public schools.  “School to Prison Pipeline” is a term frequently used to describe this.  A working group, comprised of Brenda Martin, Elaine Williams, Veronica Myers, Lisa Moss, and John Jones, will work up a proposal for first steps to be taken by the PAC in this area.

Next Meeting

 The next meeting will be held from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 20, 2016, at the DRA offices in Little Rock.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:17 pm.