Human Rights Advocate
DBHDS – OHR Region III
P.O. Box 200
Catawba, VA 24070
Val Nelson, MPA
New River Valley LHRC
c/o New River Valley Community Services
700 University City Boulevard
Blacksburg, VA 24060-2706
The Local Human Rights Committee (LHRC) plays a vital role in the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Service’s (DBHDS) Human Rights Program by performing oversight of facilities and programs, thereby assuring the protection of the rights of individuals receiving services.
The LHRC is a group of community volunteers who broadly represent professional and consumer groups with interests in services for persons living with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. It is the responsibility of LHRC to perform the functions specified in the statutory regulation entitled the Rules and Regulations to Assure the Rights of Individuals Receiving Services from Providers Licensed, Funded or Operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Some of these functions are to review and make recommendations regarding program policies, procedures and practices, behavioral treatment plans, informed consent and surrogate decision-making issues, and to assist in the resolution of human rights complaints and, where necessary, conduct a hearing.
All services licensed by DBHDS are also guided by the human rights regulation and by the Department’s commitment to provide services that are responsive to the unique needs of individuals and also maximize opportunities for self-determination. Sometimes individual rights and treatment goals must be balanced; Local Human Rights Committees are often called upon to assist in this reconciliation.