Advocacy in In-Patient and Out-Patient behavior health settings.
Similar to special education, disabled children and their parents have protections under the Maine's Department of Health and Human Services - Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services Who Are Children In Need of Treatment. Midcoast Advocacy assists families to ensure their children receive appropriate behavior health services in either In-Patient or Out-Patient settings.
• Participation in the informal or formal development and revision of, an ISP or hospital treatment and discharge plan.
• Reviewing of medical records.
• Attending and participating in meetings and conferences.
• Serving as a liaison between families and agencies.
• Writing letters to agencies.
• Providing coaching, consultation, & strategies for attaining supports & services.
• Assessing current and potential placements.
• Assistance and/or representation in the formulation and processing of a grievance under DHHS Rules.
• Any other type of representative assistance referenced in the DHHS Rules.
Midcoast Advocacy works closely with state representatives and disability rights organizations to ensure Maine's disabled children are protected.
Mr. Hugo collaborated with Representative Peter Kent (D-Woolwich) on eight pieces of legislation which were brought before the 125th session of the Maine Legislature. The bills were reviewed by the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and the Committee on Judiciary. Two became public law as of June, 2012: LD 688 and LD 964, both of which address access rights at IEP meetings and for independent evaluations.
During the session of the 124th Maine State Legislature, the Department of Education proposed changes to the Maine Unified Special Education Regulation which would have drastically undermined the rights of children with disabilities. After months of advocating and public hearings, the state’s committee on Education and Cultural Affairs recommended many of the DOE’s proposals be either eliminated or severely curtailed. The committee’s changes were ultimately recommended and passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
Midcoast Advocacy approached the United States Office of Special Education and Programs (OSEP) regarding inconsistencies between Maine's special education regulations and federal law. The resulting November, 2013 letter from OSEP directs the Maine Department of Education to amend its regulations to meet compliance.
As a public service, Midcoast Advocacy obtained redacted copies of documents related to a complaint filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission against the Brunswick School Department. Documents also include the federal district court filings and settlement of November 10, 2016.
As reported in the Bangor Daily News, the student’s mother claimed her 13-year-old son was emotionally and physically abused by fellow students for more than two years and eventually decided to leave Brunswick Junior High School in October 2012. The student went public about his ordeal in an extensive investigation by the Associated Press, reported in an article and accompanying video in May, 2017. The Forecaster newspaper published a subsequent story about the contents of the deposition and portions were read aloud on Radio 9 WCME.