Meeting of March 5, 2016

Draft Minutes

Members Present


Bettina Brownstein Veronica Myers (Chair)
Pat Highley Eddie Smith
Tina Light (Vice Chair) Elaine Williams
Brenda Martin TaVonda Williams (Secretary)

Also Present


John Jones  
Robin Parks  
Tom Masseau  
Debra Poulin  


The meeting was called to order at 10:12 am.

Approval of Minutes

 Bettina Brownstein recommended a grammatical correction in one part of the proposed minutes and then moved that they be approved as corrected.  Tina Light seconded and the motion passed.

Discussion:  Candidates for PAIMI AC membership

 Ms. Light introduced Robin Parks as a candidate for Council membership.  She described Ms. Parks as a long-time friend who had dealt with “undiagnosed” mental illness in her family throughout most of her life.  After a general question/answer conversation with Ms. Parks, Mr. Jones offered the opinion that, although Ms. Parks’ life and work experience did not appear to fit readily into one of the federally-mandated categories required in the composition of a PAIMI Advisory Council, this did not necessarily preclude her consideration for membership.  There was general agreement that Ms. Parks would be invited to submit an application for Council membership, which can be considered at the next Council meeting.

Mr. Jones then recommended that Eddie Smith be approved for Council membership.  Mr. Jones described Mr. Smith as a leader who works as a Peer Counselor at the VA and is a board member of PERC (Personal Empowerment Recovery Coalition.)  Ms. Light moved that Mr. Smith be approved for PAIMI Advisory Council membership.  Brenda Martin seconded and the motion passed.

Staff Report

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

  • Approximately 35% of DRA cases involving children are opened under PAIMI, with most of the remainder being served through the Protection and Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities (PADD) program.
  • PAIMI Special Education intakes show that public schools often fail to identify students who demonstrate psychological/behavioral problems that should fall under the classification of Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED,) or which fall under Section 504. There is a great need for improved Child Find in school districts throughout the state.  Even when appropriate identification does occur, there appears to be an over-use of inpatient or residential treatment programs, which take the student out of the school setting altogether.
  • 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 are 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.
  • DRA/PAIMI continues to monitor conditions and treatment, as well as providing individual advocacy services, in state- and privately-operated facilities operating as part of the state’s juvenile justice system. Over 90% of the youth served in these facilities have mental health diagnoses.  Serious failures in addressing incarcerated youths’ needs for appropriate mental health and educational services are evident throughout the system.
  • Areas for attention in the future:
  • Psychiatric advance directives;
  • Better public information about who we are and what we do;
  • Promoting more advocacy by people with disabilities and members of their families;
  • Advocacy issues/resources for a systemic effort in jails and prisons;
  • The impact of changes in Medicaid on persons with disabilities.

Overview/Discussion:  The PAIMI & PAC budgets

Tom Masseau, DRA Executive Director, presented an overview of the PAIMI program budget and the federal funding process.  He provided more detailed information about the budget line items for PAIMI AC activities.

FY 2017 Planning

John Jones, PAIMI Consultant, presented the DRA “Statement of 2016 Annual PAIMI Priorities (Goals) and Objectives,” which is submitted to SAMHSA as part of the annual PAIMI application for funding.  The format of this document, set by the funding authority, is somewhat confusing and hard to follow.  Mr. Jones then presented a simplified “Translation Draft” of that document which organized the 2016 PAIMI goal statements under three issue areas:  Abuse/Neglect, Meaningful Involvement, and Equal Access/Equal Protection.

A general discussion then ensued.  While no decisions were made, there was general agreement with one member’s description of the PAIMI goals as “broad and vague.”  Mr. Jones agreed, recommending that the Council focus on one goal area to set out a more useful plan.  He said the Council could start this work at the next meeting.

There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 1:50 pm.