News

2019

DRM's 19th Annual Membership Dinner - Save the Date!

Posted on May 30, 2019

Friday, October 4, 2019 Hilton Garden Inn Freeport, Maine Keynote Speaker, Nyamuon "Moon" Nguany Machar Nyamuon "Moon" Nguany Machar is an advocate and consultant in the mental health field, creating spaces for immigrants, disproportionately underserved populations and low income communities, and working to make their voices heard and represented at service and policy-making tables. Moon first began her work with the ACE program in the Army National Guard, where she received training in suicide prevention for soldiers struggling with their mental health. While serving, Moon recognized the stigma attached to mental health struggles and saw that conversations about mental ...Read More

Disability Pride Maine 2019

Posted on May 28, 2019

Disability Pride Maine Friday, July 19, 201912pm - 2pm The Pavilion at Mill ParkAugusta, Maine Download Flyer (PDF) Download Flyer (Plain Text - Word) ...Read More

Press Release: Task force created to help transform juvenile justice in Maine

Posted on May 17, 2019

For Immediate Release May 16, 2019 Task force created to help transform juvenile justice in MaineNew task force is collaboration of state legislators, the Department of Corrections and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group AUGUSTA – Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, announced today a newly formed task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and develop recommendations for continuum of care for system-involved youth and those at risk for becoming involved in the justice system. Chaired by Brennan, Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty and Jill Ward of the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law, the task force brings together ...Read More

Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Report Calls for Action to Address the Rise of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools

Posted on May 13, 2019

CONTACT: Ben Jonesbjones@drme.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 13, 2019 Disability Rights Maine Report Calls for Action to Address the Rise of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools AUGUSTA – This morning, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled Restraint and Seclusion in Maine Schools: Reviewing the First Six Years of Data Required by MDOE Rule Chapter 33. DRM’s report is based on a review and analysis of the first six years of data collected by the Maine Department of Education, as well as data reported to the federal government and data DRM obtained through public records requests. It serves to ...Read More

Announcement Regarding Legal Interpreting Fund

Posted on May 09, 2019

May 3, 2019 Dear Colleague: The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened at the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, along with Disability Rights Maine Deaf Services, are together writing to let you know that the Legal Interpreting Fund was recently repealed in the Governor’s budget. This fund had paid for interpreters for private lawyers and advocates needing to meet with their Deaf clients and those resources will now be used to assist Deaf Maine citizens in ensuring access to effective communication. As of July 1, 2019 this fund will no longer be available ...Read More

May is Children's Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted on April 26, 2019

“Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month Events” Monday, May 6th is “Children’s Mental Health Awareness” Day “Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work” Join us for our kickoff event in collaboration with the Office of Child and Family Services, Children’s Behavioral Health Services! Come and hear from our Governor in addition to several Maine family members and youth who will share their heartfelt stories about suicide and resiliency! The Maine Alliance of Family Organizations and children’s behavioral health providers from across our state will also be present to offer information how they help support the families and youth in Maine!! All parents/caregivers ...Read More

Save the Date! 10th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury

Posted on April 16, 2019

BIAA-ME's 10th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury will take place on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at the University of Southern Maine's Abromson Center in Portland. The conference is open to professionals, survivors, caregivers, students, and anyone interested in learning more about brain injury. Download the "Save the Date" flyer here. Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture We are currently seeking submissions from Maine brain injury survivors, family members, and others who are interested in giving the Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture at the conference. You can download the application here. Please submit your application by May 6, 2019, to be ...Read More

New!!! LD 984 (Home & Community Services for Kids) Fact Sheet

Posted on March 20, 2019

Maine kids with disabilities are entitled to quality services in their homes and communities! The legislature is about to consider two crucial issues that impact the well-being of Maine youth with disabilities. First, close to 60 of our youth are in residential treatment programs out of state – some as far away as Utah, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. This is harmful and painful for youth and families. Second, there are up to 300 residential beds currently licensed in Maine, and hundreds of Maine children waiting for in-home and community services. Yet DHHS has proposed building more institutions for young people ...Read More

Press Release: King, Collins Lead Effort Empowering Seniors, Individuals with Disabilities to Continue Living Safely At Home

Posted on March 07, 2019

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 7, 2019Contact: Annie Clark (Collins) 202-224-2523 Matthew Felling/Jeff Sobotko (King) 202-224-5344 Bipartisan, bicameral bill would streamline federal programs for those looking to modify their homes to support independent living WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today introduced the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and a group of their colleagues. The legislation would make it easier for older Americans and individuals with disabilities to access federal home modification programs and remain in their homes. By helping these populations navigate and utilize these ...Read More

Attorney Kristin Aiello Appointed to US Dist. Ct. Local Rules Committee

Posted on February 27, 2019

Chief District Judge Jon D. Levy is pleased to announce that effective March 1, 2019 the Court has appointed Kristin Aiello and Susan Faunce to serve on the Local Rules Advisory Committee. The Local Rules Advisory Committee studies the rules of practice and makes recommendations to the Court concerning its rules and procedures and is a vital link between the practicing bar and the Court. Attorney Kristin Aiello represents individuals with disabilities who have been discriminated against in employment, state and local government and public accommodations. Kristin's work focuses on litigation. She leads the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Team ...Read More

Training Announcement: RRMHS (Children) & Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities

Posted on February 19, 2019

The Office of Child and Family Services invites you to attend a training regarding the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services Who Are Children in Need of Treatment and the Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities. This training was developed in partnership with Disability Rights Maine (DRM). The training will review the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services Who are Children in Need of Treatment with participants, and discuss real situations. This training will also review obligations of providers to honor children/youth’s rights, and ensure children/youth are aware and understand their rights. Each session will also provide an ...Read More

Save the Date! 2019 Southern Maine Autism Conference

Posted on January 17, 2019

Pine Tree Society and Spurwink are pleased to present the 11th annual Southern Maine Autism Conference! The conference is designed for parents and family members of children with autism spectrum disorders, as well as educators and other service providers. The conference is at no charge to the participants, though registration is required as this is often a "sold out" event. Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 8am-4pm. DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland. Keynote Presentation You Belong: Stories from our Neurodiverse Friendship by Kyler Shumway, MA & Daniel Wendler, MA Follow the Southern Maine Autism Conference Facebook page @southernmaineautismconference for updates & registration announcements ...Read More

Learn About DRM's Rep Payee Review Program!

Posted on January 16, 2019

On April 13, 2018, the President signed the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 which authorizes the nation’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system to monitor and investigate how social security representative payees are administering Social Security funds. The law directs P&As to conduct periodic, onsite individual or organizational representative payee reviews along with additional discretionary reviews. In addition, the P&As conduct educational visits and conduct reviews based on allegations they receive of payee misconduct. Rep Payee Program Handout (PDF) ...Read More

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Releases Report of Children’s Behavioral Health Services

Posted on January 10, 2019

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Kirsten Capeless, Maine Department of Health and Human Services(207) 624-7900 or kirsten.capeless@maine.gov Maine Department of Health and Human Services Releases Report of Children’s Behavioral Health Services The Mills Administration today released a report completed during the LePage Administration on children’s behavioral health. Augusta, MAINE – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today released a comprehensive assessment of Maine’s Children Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), conducted by Public Consulting Group, that identifies strengths, weaknesses, and gaps within the CBHS system of care. This independent evaluation conducted by national experts has provided beneficial insight into ...Read More

2018

Press Release: Guardianship Terminated in Favor of Supported Decision-Making for the First Time in Maine

Posted on June 13, 2018

CONTACT: Nell Brimmer, Esq.207.626.2774 (W)knbrimmer@drme.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 13, 2018 AUGUSTA – Disability Rights Maine (DRM) announces that for the first time in Maine, a guardianship has been terminated in favor of Supported Decision-Making (SDM). The petition to terminate stated that Petitioner Joshua Strong believed he was no longer incapacitated under the law because he is now utilizing Supported Decision-Making. The Knox County Probate Court agreed that by utilizing supports and services as well as chosen supporters, Mr. Strong is now able to effectively manage his affairs and no longer requires a guardian. DRM Managing Attorney Nell Brimmer, who represented ...Read More

Read ACLU's Statement Regarding Recently Filed Lawsuit Against Long Creek

Posted on March 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 14, 2018 CONTACT: Rachel Healy, 774-5444x2 or 409-5509 ACLU of Maine Files Lawsuit Over Beating of 11-Year-Old at Long Creek   Child Was Denied Adequate Medical Care Before and After Guards Attacked Him PORTLAND – The brutal beating of a 11-year-old boy with mental illness by two guards at Long Creek Youth Development Center is the subject of a lawsuit filed today by the ACLU of Maine. The civil rights case challenges the use of excessive force, deliberately indifferent medical care, and statutory violations against the boy, referred to in the case as A.I.  “A.I. experienced cruelty ...Read More

Maine kids with disabilities expect quality services in their homes and communities!

Posted on March 12, 2018

Maine is required to provide in-home and community services for kids with disabilities. These services teach skills and provide therapy to kids and families. When these services work well, kids with disabilities can be successful at home, and not forced to live in institutions. For many kids and families, the system is not working. There are two major problems with in-home and community services in Maine: access and quality. Because of these access and quality problems, kids who otherwise could be served successfully at home are facing worse outcomes: going into crisis, frequent police calls and hospitalizations, stress on ...Read More

DRM & Partners Celebrate 10th Anniversary of ASL Tax Day!

Posted on March 07, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018, marked the 10th anniversary of American Sign Language (ASL) Tax Day in Portland, Maine. Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication (SPEC) partners provided free tax preparation services to 44 taxpayers who are deaf or hard of hearing. These partners included CA$H Greater Portland, Disability Rights Maine, Maine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and the University of Southern Maine. “ASL Tax Day started in Maine 10 years ago,” said SPEC Director Frank Nolden. “We later adopted their model and encouraged participation throughout SPEC and our partner network. With the support of the National Disability Institute and ...Read More

2017

Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Reacts to the Release of the Long Creek Youth Development Center Conditions Report

Posted on December 14, 2017

CONTACT: Atlee Reilly207.844.4190 (C)areilly@drme.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 14, 2017 Disability Rights Maine Reacts to the Release of the Long Creek Youth Development Center Conditions Report AUGUSTA – Today, Maine’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) released the results of a conditions assessment of the Long Creek Youth Development Center (LCYDC). This assessment was completed by the Center for Children's Law and Policy, which is nationally recognized as having expertise in assessing juvenile detention facilities. Experts in the fields of education, mental health treatment for adolescents, and medical treatment of adolescents reviewed thousands of documents and spent three days at Long Creek ...Read More

Progress on long-standing agreement to improve Maine system remains gradual

Posted on August 14, 2017

Now having passed the 27th anniversary of the signing of a consent decree setting out mandated reforms to Maine’s mental health service system, the state still appears to be moving incrementally toward the desired outcome.  A progress report issued this month by the court-appointed monitor for the agreement stated that “progress is being made, although haltingly at times.”   Areas that have shown improvement, according to retired Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Daniel Wathen as well as advocates interviewed by MHW, include reductions in waiting lists for certain services as well as the provision of needed housing assistance for ...Read More

Press Release: DRM Issues Report Regarding the Use of Law Enforcement Intervention by Youth Residential Service Providers

Posted on August 09, 2017

PRESS RELEASE   CONTACT: Katrina Ringrose207.319.8334 (C)kringrose@drme.org     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 9, 2017   Disability Rights Maine Report Highlights Concerns Regarding the Use of Law Enforcement Intervention by Youth Residential Service Providers AUGUSTA – Earlier today, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled Assessing the Use of Law Enforcement by Youth Residential Service Providers.  The report is available here: Read the Report (PDF) Read the Report (Word) DRM began researching the use of law enforcement by youth residential service providers after a report by the Maine Department of Corrections found that as of July 2016, approximately one ...Read More

Maine proposals aim to house former forensic patients with MI

Posted on August 01, 2017

As Maine Gov. Paul LePage moves forward with plans to build a privately run, state psychiatric residence in Bangor without legislative approval, lawmakers have released their own proposal that calls for a residential, step-down facility in the Capitol Area of Augusta.  The executive and legislative proposals would house residents who have been ruled by the courts to not be responsible for their crimes due to a mental illness. LePage has released a request for proposal (RFP) through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The RFP says the 21-bed building would be completed by March 2019, with a ...Read More

Press Release: Disability Rights Maine Issues Report Regarding the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Maine Schools

Posted on April 19, 2017

CONTACT: Ben Jones 207.626.2774207.200.5407bjones@drme.org AUGUSTA – Earlier today, Disability Rights Maine (DRM) released a report entitled “RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION IN MAINE SCHOOLS, Reviewing the First Four Years of Data Required by MDOE Rule Chapter 33.” Chapter 33 Report (Word) Chapter 33 Report (PDF) Collection of restraint and seclusion data by Maine Department of Education (MDOE) began in 2013 after a consensus based rulemaking effort to develop rules regulating the use of these practices. The resulting rule is commonly referred to as “Chapter 33”. These regulations define restraint and seclusion as emergency interventions that may only be used when there is ...Read More

Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine

Posted on March 16, 2017

A new report from USM’s Muskie School of Public Service details a records system that is confusing, misunderstood and often unintentionally punishes individuals long after their time in the justice system has ended.  Nationally, research into the impact of juvenile records on individuals’ attempts to move beyond their involvement with the justice system has demonstrated a range of long-term consequences, from difficulty in securing housing or employment to enlisting in the military and Maine is no different. The report’s authors conducted focus groups, interviews and surveys of youth and adults with juvenile records, family members, juvenile justice practitioners, and ...Read More

Lewiston School Department Fails To Adequately Serve Students of Color and Students with Disabilities, Say Rights Groups

Posted on February 07, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 7, 2017  CONTACT: Rachel Healy, ACLU of Maine, 774-5444 x2 or 409-5509Atlee Reilly, Disability Rights Maine, 626-2774 x220Courtney Beer, Kids Legal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, 400-3269 Lewiston –The Lewiston School Department has failed to adequately serve students of color and students with disabilities, according to the ACLU of Maine, Disability Rights Maine and Kids Legal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance. In a letter to the superintendent of the Department, the groups shared the results of a two-year-long investigation into race and disability accommodations in the Lewiston schools. According to the letter, the Department is in ...Read More

Caged In: The Devastating Harms of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners with Physical Disabilities

Posted on January 20, 2017

From ACLU.org:  "This report provides a first-ever national ACLU account of the suffering prisoners with physical disabilities experience in solitary confinement. It spotlights the dangers for blind people, Deaf people, people who are unable to walk without assistance, and people with other physical disabilities who are being held in small cells for 22 hours a day or longer, for days, months, and even years. Solitary confinement is a punishing environment that endangers the well-being of people with physical disabilities and often violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report’s revelations about the particular harms of solitary on people with physical ...Read More

2016

Save the Date!

Posted on November 30, 2016

2017 HOPE Conference “Strive to Thrive; Not Just Survive” May 31, 20178:00 AM to 4:00 PM Augusta Civic Center76 Community DriveAugusta, Maine 04330 For information on partial scholarships please call Paula at 430.8300. For information on volunteering please call Alicia at 622.5736. Download Save the Date Flyer (PDF) Coming in March: Conference Facebook page and electronic brochures to be available on CCSM website and MAPSRC Facebook page. ...Read More

Maine Voters with Disabilities: We want to hear your stories!

Posted on November 15, 2016

Voters with disabilities have the right to vote independently and privately, just like all other citizens. Disability Rights Maine wants to hear your stories about problems you might have had when voting or trying to vote in the recent election. Some common problems include: Accessing polling facilities (i.e. parking spaces, ramps, doorways) Getting assistance with voting at the polls or town offices Completing forms for registration, absentee ballots   If you have experienced any issues related to being a voter with a disability during the recent election, Disability Rights Maine would like to talk to you now.  To tell us ...Read More

Survey Participation Request

Posted on October 25, 2016

From the Americans with Disabilities Act Participatory Action Research Consortium (ADA-PARC):"We would like to invite you to participate in a national survey titled, Transportation Access and Experiences, which is designed to improve understanding of accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities. This survey is being conducted by the ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA-PARC), a collaborative research project of ADA Regional Centers (PIs: Lex Frieden and Joy Hammel). This project focuses on community living, community participation & work/economic participation disparities of people with disabilities (For more information, visit the website: www.adaparc.org). We would like to improve our understanding on ...Read More

Read: Locked Up and Locked Down

Posted on September 08, 2016

WASHINGTON – Between 80,000 and 100,000 inmates are currently segregated in prison cells nationwide for 22-24 hours per day, for days, months, years, and in some cases decades at a time. Segregation disproportionately affects inmates with mental illness and research shows that individuals may acquire symptoms of mental illness, or experience exacerbated symptoms of mental illness, as a result of the conditions in segregation. Today, the Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Prison Project, in partnership with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and the federally mandated protection and advocacy (P&A) agencies in over 20 states across the country ...Read More

Read: Making Hard Time Harder

Posted on June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016 More than 600,000 inmates with disabilities in prisons across the country spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities, according to research. Today, Amplifying Voices of Prisoners with Disabilities (AVID), a project of Disability Rights Washington, released Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The report outlines lack of accommodations for inmates with disabilities. “People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” says Mark Stroh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Washington. “In drafting this report, we have found that inmates with disabilities ...Read More

SNAPSHOT: Maine's Mental Health System - Survey

Posted on June 03, 2016

Take a moment to share your thoughts on mental health services in Maine.  We want to hear about your experiences ~ your input is important! (function(t,e,s,n){var o,c,a;t.SMCX=t.SMCX||[],e.getElementById(n)||(o=e.getElementsByTagName(s),c=o[o.length-1],a=e.createElement(s),a.type="text/javascript",a.async=!0,a.id=n,a.src=["https:"===location.protocol?"https://":"http://","widget.surveymonkey.com/collect/website/js/LJp_2BbBHtKcuAPQmAmqKfsaMwnQl3jbVWPC560qfENgaZM24oQu6Klf4jsQwgFyie.js"].join(""),c.parentNode.insertBefore(a,c))})(window,document,"script","smcx-sdk"); ...Read More

Watch DRM's ADA Anniversary Videos!

Posted on January 11, 2016

To celebrate this milestone, DRM worked with Fieldstone Media to produce two videos that commemorated this landmark legislation and its positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities in Maine.  DRM is pleased to be able to share the videos with you, and we hope you enjoy watching and listening to these stories! <span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span> Click Here to Subscribe to DRM's YouTube Channel ...Read More

2015

DHHS pushes for separate psych center for inmates

Posted on September 03, 2015

DRM attorney Kevin Voyvodich was interviewed for a story that appeared on WCHS Channel 6 regarding the Maine Department of Health and Services' plan for creating a new psychiatric facility specifically for Maine’s forensic patients.http://www.wcsh6.com/story/news/health/2015/08/31/... ...Read More

How to tap the potential of employees with disabilities

Posted on August 25, 2015

Rick Langley, Deputy Director, shares his thoughts on the employment of people with disabilities and how Maine seems to be moving in the right direction. "It's exciting to talk about diversity in the workplace, because it feels like there is a movement happening in Maine," says Langley. "There seems to be an increasing investment — by chambers of commerce, local business groups and businesses themselves — to develop workplaces that reflect the best of Maine." To read the full article, available on mainebiz.biz, click the link below. ...Read More

Take Part in the "Maine Access Mapathon"!

Posted on July 28, 2015

This year marks an important anniversary - the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To commemorate the passage of this landmark civil rights law, Disability Rights Maine and the ADA Coalition of Maine are embarking on a "Maine Access Mapathon" project to map the accessibility of our cities and towns.As we engage in a year of activities aimed at enforcement, education, and coalition building, this Mapathon is part of our outreach to communities to highlight access issues locally. By partnering with individuals throughout Maine, we hope to start conversations and spark change in how our cities and towns ...Read More

DRM Awarded State Grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making!

Posted on June 25, 2015

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a formal method of decision-making in which a person can designate trusted individuals who can help them process information and work through decisions. SDM offers an alternative to guardianship, which would otherwise completely usurp the person’s autonomy and civil rights. DRM's grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making is to fund a yearlong outreach project, with the possibility of an extension in year two, to educate individuals and provide resources to the community on Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship. DRM, alongside 9 other community leaders will be developing materials and providing training ...Read More

Maine Bill Would Phase Out Lower Wages for Disabled

Posted on April 07, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican state Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta, has introduced legislation to phase out a state law that allows employers to pay disabled workers a wage lower than the state minimum wage. He says the law, which he describes as paying people "pennies on the dollar," just isn't fair."This is really a vestige going back to, really, before the Second World War," Katz says. "The idea was to try to get disabled people - physically or mentally disabled folks - employed primarily in sheltered workshops, and it was a good idea at the time. But we have come ...Read More

Monmouth Woman Denied Interpreter Prevails in Discrimination Case

Posted on April 01, 2015

AUGUSTA — When June Ellis of Monmouth, who’s deaf, requested an interpreter so that she could fully participate in a Living Well for Better Health course offered by Spectrum Generations, she was told there was no money available in the budget. Instead, the Augusta-based agency on aging bought a speech recognition software program and instructed workshop facilitators to use easels to write comments and seat Ellis where she would be able to lip read. It wasn’t enough, according to the Maine Human Rights Commission. On Monday, commissioners voted 4-0 to find reasonable grounds to believe Ellis, now 71, was a ...Read More