Local Human Rights Committee
The Local Human Rights Committee (LHRC) plays a vital role in the Department of Community and Human Services' mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse programs by assisting the Department in assuring the protection of the human rights of the people they serve. The LHRC also assists other providers that receive state funds for behavioral health services.
Facilities and programs are guided by rules and regulations of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Providers are required to provide services that are responsive to the unique needs of individual clients and that maximize opportunities for self-determination. These goals must frequently be reconciled with the need to protect the rights of others and the need to minimize the economic burden of service provision on the Commonwealth. Local Human Rights Committees are often called upon to assist in this reconciliation.
The Local Human Rights Committee:
- is a group of community volunteers who are broadly representative of various professional and consumer groups;
- performs certain oversight functions as specified in the rules and regulations;
- and is appointed by the State Human Rights Committee.
Functions of the Local Human Rights Committee:
- conducts fact finding hearings and makes recommendations for resolution of complaints not resolved informally;
- reviews and makes recommendations concerning program requests for variances to the Human Rights Regulations;
- reviews program policies, procedures and practices relating to client rights, and make recommendations for change; and
- performs other oversight functions as specified in the Local Human Rights Committee' bylaws.
Requirements of Local Human Rights Committee Members:
- willingness to work within the parameters of the department's human rights process in order to resolve complaints and to facilitate improvements and/or changes in the system;
- regular meeting attendance. All Local Human Rights Committees meet at least quarterly; some meet monthly and it is essential that a quorum be present; and
- strict observance of client confidentiality.
It is important that membership of Local Human Rights Committees broadly represent professionals, consumer groups and other interested persons in order to maintain objectivity and a balanced diversity. Therefore, in appointing members to Local Human Rights Committees, the State Human Rights Committee takes into consideration the composition of each Local Human Rights Committee. For this reason, nominees who are well qualified may not be appointed, simply because of the existing makeup of the committee. We strongly encourage individuals who are not appointed to consider serving on another Local Human Rights Committee or to apply for appointment at another time.
Note: Because of the potential for conflict of interest, attorneys and others who have represented clients in a program for which the Local Human Rights Committee is established cannot participate in Local Human Rights Committee proceedings regarding those clients.
For more information about the Alexandria LHRC, call the CSB Human Rights Advocate at 703.746.3400. Please mail LHRC applications (below) to:
Alexandria Community Services Board, Human Rights Advocate, 720 North Saint Asaph Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.