NARPA 2020 Webinar series

Olmstead in the Age of COVID

In lieu of a face-to face conference in 2020, NARPA is offering a series of webinars related to current events. All webinars are free. NARPA's second webinar entitled "Olmstead in the Age of COVID" took place on October 1, 2020.

Description of Presentation: People confined in psychiatric hospitals and other congregate settings now face significant risks of contracting COVID-19. Yet the pandemic has slowed down discharges and created new challenges in community service systems. This presentation by two distinguished civil rights advocates and attorneys will feature a discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) community integration mandate and how it is faring in the era of COVID. We will highlight the need for emergency measures to reduce the census of psychiatric hospitals and other psychiatric institutions to enable distancing within these facilities, to accelerate discharges, and ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities are offered community-based services and housing, and to impose adequate COVID safety measures for those who remain institutionalized.

Presenters: Kathy Flaherty, J.D., Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP); and Jennifer Mathis, J.D., Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Since 2015, Kathy Flaherty has served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP), a statewide non-profit agency providing legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions residing in hospitals or the community. Kathy spent 13 years as a Staff Attorney at Statewide Legal Services of CT, Inc., the centralized intake hotline for all Connecticut legal services programs. She combines her personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and her legal background to speak to issues affecting those living with mental health conditions. Kathy currently is a member of the steering committee of the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, an alliance of people of all ages with all disabilities who pursue a unified agenda in support of building a great life in the community.

Jennifer Mathis, J.D., is Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. The Center is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that advances the rights of people with mental disabilities. Jennifer's work focuses primarily on the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and the Medicaid rights of adults and children with disabilities. Jennifer uses litigation as well as legislative and administrative policy advocacy to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities in all areas of life. She played a key role in coordinating strategy and briefing when the Olmstead case was heard by the Supreme Court, and has litigated numerous community integration cases before and after. She has been at the Bazelon Center since 1999, except for one year serving as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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To access the recording of our first webinar in this series, "Trauma Translated," visit our web site at [Coming soon.]

Check NARPA’s website at and NARPA’s Facebook group page for details about the next three workshops scheduled this Fall. And stay tuned for announcements about our plans for 2021!