Right to Advocacy Services

Healthcare providers, including DMHAS recognize that persons in recovery have the right to receive assistance from an advocate of their choice. Anyone can be a lay advocate and there are many different lay advocates available, including patient advocates who work for providers, peer advocates who may be associated with Advocacy Unlimited and friends or family member.

Advocates play an extremely important role educating persons in recovery about their rights and supporting their efforts to have their rights respected. However, there are limits on a lay advocate’s (non-lawyers not supervised by an attorney) expertise and authority. Practicing law without a license in Connecticut is a criminal offense. Persons who violate it could be prosecuted. Just as important, they could cause harm to someone they are trying to help.

It is essential that lay advocates understand these limits and understand when issues should be referred to legal professionals.