Public Interest Government Relations update

Advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities UN treaty, and activities in support of the Children's Mental Health Accessibility Act

By Stefanie Reeves, MA

APA Advocates for UN Treaty

APA, as part of a coalition of disability groups, continues to advocate in support of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD). CRPD seeks to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently held a hearing on the treaty followed by a committee vote to move forward with ratification. APA’s advocacy in support of CRPD included a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voicing support for ratification and an action alert to APA members. The coalition hopes to see a ratification vote on the Senate floor before the end of the lame duck session of Congress.

APA Supports Children’s Access to Mental Health Services

APA joined a number of disability, child advocacy and mental health organizations in support of S. 3289, the Children’s Mental Health Accessibility Act of 2012. The bill would provide alternative home and community based solutions for treating children and adolescents with severe mental disorders and change the terminology in the Social Security Act from mental retardation to intellectual disabilities. The bipartisan bill was introduced in June by Senators John Kerry and Charles Grassley. 

Get Involved

There are a number of ways to get involved with advocacy through APA’s Public interest Government Relations Office including:

  • Sharing research and clinical expertise with policymakers. 

  • Attending an advocacy workshop and advocacy day.

  • Participating in state/district visits with policymakers.

  • Testifying or presenting at congressional hearings or briefings. 

  • Applying for a fellowship or internship in Washington, D.C.

APA hosts the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN) which allows APA members to take action on the important legislative issues of the day. We encourage you to learn more about PPAN or sign up to receive our alerts.

About the Author

Stefanie Reeves, MA

Stefanie Reeves, MA, is senior legislative and federal affairs officer in the APA Government Relations Office.