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Disability Rights of West Virginia

The Medley Hartley Advocacy Program



Article by Stephanie Thorn, DRWV Medley Program Director

Disability Rights of West Virginia (DRWV) offers advocacy services to people in West Virginia through federal and state programs. The Medley Hartley Advocacy Program (MHAP) is a state funded program that provides advocacy services to people in West Virginia who are eligible.

The Medley Program emerged as part of a class action lawsuit (Medley v. Ginsberg, 1981) and the Medley Consent Decree. It mandated that people with developmental disabilities would be served in the least restrictive environment and receive individualized services based on their individual needs. It formed an advocacy system for all Medley Class Members. It also changed the conditions of the state’s institutions, which resulted in several of them closing. Hartley was established due to a different class action lawsuit (E.H. v. Matin, 1983) and provided major improvements to the state’s behavioral health system. It mandated that people with mental illness, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury or developmental disabilities get services in the least restrictive environment. The MHAP grant narrows those eligible for Hartley services through this program. Those individuals that meet the broader definition may be served through one of DRWV’s federal programs

DRWV provides advocacy services to more than 300 Medley Class Members. We have seven different regions with an Advocate assigned to each. Advocates attend treatment team meetings, complete home and day activity visits, and advocate for the needs and wishes of Medley Class Members.

We visit homes, hospitals, group homes, nursing facilities, and other locations where the Medley members live. We advocate for people to live in their desired community, to work or participate in the day activities that they want, and most importantly to ensure that their needs are met.


We report abuse, neglect, and exploitation to the WV Department of Health and Human Resources and to law enforcement when it is needed.


We strive for Medley Class Members to live in the most independent way that they can, with individualized supports and services in place to help them do so. Advocates focus on the members wishes and interests and attempt to assist individuals fully achieve them.

Who is Eligible to become a Medley Class Member?

To become a Medley Class Member an individual must: live in West Virginia; have a diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability; been hospitalized prior to age 23 in a West Virginia institution such as Weston State Hospital, William R Sharpe Jr. Hospital, Huntington State Hospital (now Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital), Colin-Anderson Center, Greenbrier Center, Spencer State Hospital, Lakin Hospital or Hopemont Hospital for at least 30 days; and, have been born on or after April 1, 1956. Once a person becomes a Medley Class Member, they receive advocacy services for their lifetime.

Through Hartley, DRWV works to find individuals who may be eligible to become Medley Class Members. Please contact DRWV for more information or if you know someone who may qualify to become a Medley Class Member.

DRWV believes that people with disabilities can have lives that are enjoyable, dignified, valuable, and productive. Our job is to make sure that the needed supports and services are in place so they can live an integrated life in the least restrictive environment; that they are safe from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and, that their wishes are expressed and acknowledged.


Client Comments

Why we do what we do

Thank you for keeping me in my home!

Very pleased with all, eased my mind.

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