DSHS - Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council
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Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council

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The Washington State Planning and Advisory Council has a maximum membership of thirty members consisting of consumers, providers, advocates, and governmental representatives. The membership represents a balanced representation of the state’s population with respect to race, ethnicity, disability, and age, urban and rural. The Planning Council has six subcommittees, which provide the Council with input and direction. The chairs of these subcommittees are Council members as are some of the other members but not all, as the task of the subcommittees is to provide the Council with the population targeted information needed to make decisions that will best serve citizens in need of mental health treatment programs and this calls for a wide range of expert knowledge and expertise.

The Washington State Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council (also referred to as "the Council") and its subcommittees operate under Public Law 102-321, and are responsible to perform the following specific duties:

  • Review plans provided to the Council by the state, and to submit to the state any recommendations of the Council for modifications of the Plan under the above stated Public Law.
  • Monitor, review, and evaluate, not less than once a year, the allocation and adequacy of mental health services within the state.
  • Study programs and services, analyze problems, and identify gaps and barriers in the services system.
  • Review the materials provided in order to participate in a discussion and analysis of current mental health programs and ancillary services.
  • Solicit representative points of view from the communities represented by the Planning Council members concerning mental health issues and disseminate information on mental health issues within those communities.
  • Create and manage subcommittees, as it may deem necessary, to facilitate and inform its work.

Chapter 43.20A.360 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) also establishes the following responsibilities for members of advisory committees:

  • Convey community opinions, attitudes and needs to the division;
  • Study programs and services and analyze problems;
  • Provide information and interpretation of department policies, programs and budget to the public;
  • Recommend changes in programs, policies and standards; and
  • Offer recommendations and comments.

DSHS Administrative Policy 2.10 also mandates that all advisory bodies serving the department reflect a balanced representation of state population with respect to race, ethnicity, disability, and age. Members of the Council and its subcommittees are actively recruited consistent with these requirements.

The Council includes representatives of state agencies, public and private entities concerned with the need, planning, operation, funding and use of mental health services. The Council meets the requirements of Section 1914(c) of the Public Health Service Act, which stipulates that "not less than 50% of the members of the Planning Council shall be individuals who are not State employees, or providers of mental health services." The ratio of parents with children with serious emotional disturbance to other members of the Council also meets the requirement to provide adequate representation of such children in the deliberations of the Council.