Erie County Community Services Board
Each county in New York State is required under NYS Mental Hygiene Law to have a Community Services Board. In Erie County, the Community Services Board (CSB) acts in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Mental Health. The CSB provides advice for the Erie County Department of Mental Health about: • Needs of persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse issues • System-wide priorities • Development of local services programs • Establishment of long-range goals • Development of intermediate range plans and forecasts, input to the Local Services Plan. The CSB is comprised of fifteen (15) persons from the community that have demonstrated an interest in the field of services for persons with mental disabilities. The CSB has three (3) standing subcommittees: • Alcoholism and Substance Use Subcommittee • Mental Health Subcommittee • Developmental Disabilities Subcommittee. These subcommittees are comprised of CSB members and other interested persons from the community. The subcommittees represent the community's interests in each area to help identify issues and advocate for solutions.
The Mental Health Subcommittee
The Mental Health Subcommittee is a group under the Erie County Department of Mental Health Community Services Board. The goal of the Board is to influence policy in Erie County from the community's perspective. Among the constituents of the Board are members of Subcommittees which each represent a subset of mental health, namely, Substance Abuse, Developmental Disabilities, and Mental Health. The Subcommittees operate at the grassroots level and both report to and seek guidance from the Board. In turn, the Board refers to the respective Subcommittee's input for recommendations and adopts issues of concern. Members of the Mental Health Subcommittee includes: representatives from various organizations such as National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health Advocates (MHA), Recovery Options Made Easy, Horizon, Crisis Services, Dent Neurologic Institute, Restoration Society, Mental Health PEER Connection, Western New York Independent Living, Inc. (WNYIL); members with lived experience; members who are family of or advocates for persons with lived experience; and a delegate of the Erie County Department of Mental Health. The Mental Health Subcommittee also evaluates the county's local services plan, annually, and advises based on current and relevant issues of concern.
The Developmental Disabilities Subcommittee
The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Subcommittee meets every other month as a subcommittee of the Erie County Department of Mental Health Community Service Board. The representatives of the subcommittee include individuals receiving services from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), family members of individuals who receive services, service providers, OPWDD Regional Developmental Disabilities Services Office staff, and representatives from Erie County Government.
Representatives of the subcommittee inform the Commissioner of Mental Health regarding unmet needs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and recommends system-wide priorities. The subcommittee gives input into the development of the Local Service Plan (LSP) and makes recommendations regarding statewide initiatives that relate to I/DD services. OPWDD and Erie County representation provides an advocacy platform for service recipients, family members and providers.
The Substance Abuse Subcommittee
The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Subcommittee meets monthly as a subcommittee to Erie County Department of Mental Health Community Service Board. The subcommittee reviews Certificate of Need Proposals and makes recommendations for the Commissioner to review and respond as the local government unit. Staff will report on county updates and needs on a monthly basis. The subcommittee keeps up to date on current information, trends and best practices for both mental health and substance use disorder. The subcommittee's umbrella agency is Erie County Department of Mental Health and the Board is composed of many experienced individuals; some not participating with a direct agency at this time. The subcommittee annually evaluates the Local Services Plan (LSP), and is authorized to report on the consistency of such plan, with the needs of persons with serious mental illness, including children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. Any report is forwarded annually to the Community Services Board and the Director of Community Services and a copy sent to the Commissioner prior to the submission of the Local Services Plan.