Columbia, South Carolina






TO:    All Organizational Components

SUBJECT:   Citizens’ Advisory Boards

The purpose of this Directive is to establish a mechanism to coordinate the activities of the Department’s inpatient facilities, to advise the chief officer/director at each inpatient facility, and to better acquaint the public with the needs and activities of these providers.

The Department of Mental Health requires that each inpatient facility establish a citizens’ advisory board consisting of nine to twelve members, at least five of whom shall be nonproviders of mental health services.


         A.  The State Director/Mental Health Commission shall appoint members of the board.  Membership is voluntary and shall include parents or relatives of consumers/residents, community leaders, professional persons in relevant fields and persons who have an interest in or knowledge of mental health and recovery issues.

         B.   Each board shall elect from its appointed members a chairman, vice-chairman, and a

secretary to serve for terms of one year.  Each board shall establish bylaws consistent with the procedures outlined in this directive.  The bylaws shall also include provisions that ensure the board is in compliance with the requirements for a public body as set forth in the South Carolina “ Freedom of Information Act.”

         C.  The initial terms of office shall be staggered, so that as nearly as possible half the members’ terms will expire in two years and half will expire in three years.  Thereafter, terms of office shall be for three years, each term ending June 30th of the third year.  No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

          D.  Members shall be expected to attend all meetings of the board.  Unexcused absence from two successive meetings shall be considered evidence of intent not to continue as a member.  After  two successive unexcused absences, the chairman shall direct a letter to the member asking if he/she wishes to remain a member.  A declination by a member shall require the appointment of a new board member. If an affirmative reply is received, the member shall be retained except that, if the member then misses a third successive meeting the chairman shall terminate the membership and a new member shall be appointed.

          E.  The boards shall meet six (6) times annually or more frequently if three board members request the chairman to call a meeting.  The boards shall keep minutes of every meeting and shall submit them to the board members, the State Director of Mental Health, the Department of Mental Health Client Advocacy Office and the chief officer/director of the facility.

          F.  Members of the boards shall receive no compensation for their services, except that they shall be reimbursed by the facility for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties,  provided that reimbursement for such expenses shall not exceed limits imposed upon the Department of Mental Health by administrative rules regulating travel within this state.

         G.  Board Responsibilities:  Boards provide advice and support to the chief officer/director of the facility in developing a vision of how to ensure quality mental health and long term care services for consumers through the following means:

1.   Formulation of Statement of Purpose and Goals
2.   Establishment of Board bylaws and procedures necessary to carry out responsibilities
3.   Identification of Scope and Function
      a.  Review and offer advice on hospital budgets, program objectives, service delivery, and long range planning with emphasis on quality outcomes
      b.  Develop and maintain relationships with local mental health organizations
      c.  Review and evaluate employee training and continuing education programs
      d.  Recommend to the State Director/Mental Health Commission individuals for appointment to the boards
      e.  Advise Human Rights Committees
      f.   Bring any matter considered important to the attention of the chief officer/director of the facility
      g.  Submit an annual report to the State Director on or before June 30th of each year summarizing accomplishments, recommendations, and goals for the new fiscal year

Facilities shall enhance the interchange with community mental health advocates to optimize services throughout the state for the mentally ill.


April 9, 2003