2017 Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit

Mark your calendars! State Representative Dan Miller’s Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit will take place on March 22-24th at the Beth El Congregation in Scott Township and you will not want to miss it.

With each passing year, the Summit has proved to be invaluable resource for families who have a child or loved one with a disability or mental health issue. More than 1,000 people attended the Summit last year and even more are expected to attend the three-day event in March.

What makes this Summit so unique is that it affords families the opportunity to speak and meet with local service providers, advocacy organizations, clinicians, leading experts, and legislators in one centralized location and learn about what kind of resources are available to them.

In Southwestern Pennsylvania there is a vast need for both education of and accessibility to treatment and support programs. More than 100 organizations, including Wesley Spectrum, will have staff members on hand at the Summit to answer questions and discuss the diverse range of integrated autism, behavioral health, and educational services that are available.

Additionally, many of the informational sessions and seminars will focus on topics like early intervention, transitional services, advocacy, transportation, public assistance, and reforming access to care. There will also be legislative panels, where Rep. Miller, some of his colleagues, and Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas, will provide updates on current policies and legislation that are being worked on related to these issues.

For many families dealing with disabilities and mental health issues, the amount of time it would take for them to research and contact the Summit’s participants would be daunting and nearly impossible.

Michelle Sloane, Director of Public Policy and Strategy met with Rep. Dan Miller recently in his Mt. Lebanon office to discuss the Summit

“There are some fantastic programs and seminars across the state for people to go to,” said Rep. Miller, “but for many families with a loved one with a disability or a diagnosis traveling across the state to attend one is a daunting proposition. That’s why we were committed to partner up with the disability and mental health community here in Allegheny County to create a free, easy to access, one-of-a-kind event that would bring so many resources under one local tent.”

Since being elected in 2013, Rep. Miller has become known as a fierce advocate for families and children and has remained focused and steadfast in his commitment to reforming antiquated programs and ineffective policies that prevent or limit services to individuals living with disabilities and mental health issues.

And while this March will mark the fourth time the Summit will be taking place, it will be the first year that the event will occur over a three day period, and that was a deliberate decision.

“Every year the Summit gets larger and that can be directly tied to the need of so many families but also to the strength of our partnerships,” said Rep. Miller. “From local school districts to community partners, from local towns to great non-profits all around western PA, everyone contributes to making the Summit a big success and in allowing us to offer this program free of charge.”

It takes several months for Rep. Miller and his staff members to schedule and organize the Summit’s activities, with the help of a Planning Committee made up of provider members like Wesley Spectrum, and sponsors like St. Clair Hospital and Beth El Congregation.

Regardless of whether an individual or a family resides in Rep. Miller’s district, the Summit is open anyone who would like to attend. With the sheer volume and variety of resources and organizations that will be present, there is sure to be something of interest to everyone.

Below is a sneak preview of the Summit’s events, but be sure to stay tuned to our website and Facebook page as more information becomes available! With the Summit being such a widely attended event, be sure to register here.

  • Informational Sessions, March 22nd, 23rd, and 24th
    • Topics of interest for parents, students, and professionals and those seeking continuing education
  • Support Services Resource Fair, March 22nd and March 23rd
    • State, County, and Local agencies
    • Service Providers (Wesley Spectrum)
    • Advocacy and Support Groups
  • Employment and Transition Fair and Legislative Panels, March 24th
    • Transition Services Providers
    • Employment Opportunities
    • Post-Secondary Educational Organizations

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Rep. Miller currently serves on the Education Committee as the Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Special Education, Co-Chair of the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, and on the Human Services and Children & Youth Committees. Additionally, he serves as Secretary on the Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Labor and Industry Committee.

He has an undergraduate degree in education and history and became a certified secondary educator. He later graduated with a law degree from Catholic University, Upon passing the bar exam, he became a public defender, focusing on juveniles, and later went on to serve as a county solicitor where he worked to ensure kids were safe in their homes and received a proper education.

He represents the 42nd district and it includes: Mt. Lebanon Township, Dormont Borough, Castle Shannon Borough, Baldwin Township, Part of the City of Pittsburgh’s Brookline Neighborhood (part of the 19th Ward, districts 24, 25, 26, 29, 32, and 38), part of Scott Township (Ward 6 District 1, Ward 7 District 1, and Ward 9, Districts 1 and 2). There is a total population of 61,766 individuals in the district.