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Child And Family Advocacy

We can help you navigate the mental health system. We will listen, answer questions, explain your rights, and partner with your family to assist you in finding the appropriate supports and services. We will empower you to be your own best advocate!

There is no cost for our child and family advocacy services and representation.

If you are looking for advocacy services and peer education for someone 18 years and older, please visit our adult advocacy page. 

Age of Consent for Treatment

This law has been misinterpreted for years. We want to make sure that families and providers understand this updated law clarifying the age of consent law.
In 2020, PA’s mental health law Act 147 was replaced by Act 65 to clear up any misunderstanding of the interpretation and intentions of the law. Act 65 2020 “Gabby’s Law” reaffirms that a child 14 and up can consent to their own mental health treatment without parental consent. 
In addition, it clarifies that a parent/legal guardian can consent to mental health treatment for a child between 14-17 even if the child objects. This leaves the decision in the hands of the doctors and guardians. If the parent is present and willing to consent to treatment, there should not be a need to 302 a child. Click here to learn more.

Back-to-School Transition Resources

Click here for the Transitioning Back-to-School Form: Please complete this form and return to Shelby Witmer at

Click here for “Planning for Successful Transition Back to School” handout: Here is a helpful resource for any parent or guardian who is looking to utilize our Family & Child Advocacy services, including common FAQs. 

Advocacy At Your School

We can act as your educational advocate for the special education system by supporting you through the IEP/504 process. We can educate and empower you to advocate for your child and help facilitate conversations with the school to support your child. This can include reviewing plans, advising next steps, and attending meetings with you. You are your child’s biggest advocate, and I can give you the confidence you need to do it. 


See what parents are saying about the process: 


I have more knowledge regarding the process. I now know what questions to ask and what evaluations to request.” 


“Yes! She gave me the tools and information I needed to feel more confident during my meeting.” 


advocacy at your school

Call our office at 717-397-7461 or email us at to start the conversation for your child and the health of your entire family.



Contact MHA to ask whether your school is a part of this program at or 717-397-7461.  If you would like to bring mental health screening and education into your classroom, we would be happy to meet with you.

Take A Confidential Screening

If you don't know where to turn, and you would like to talk to someone about planning how to get help, then an MHA Advocate can help.

If you are a Lancaster County resident, then email or call 717-397-7461 to schedule a time to begin a conversation for yourself, or someone you care about.

If you are outside of the Lancaster County area, please visit to locate the MHA office nearest to you.

Family Child Services Resources

The PEAL Center – Helping Families of Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs

The mission of the PEAL Center is to educate and empower families to ensure that children, youth and young adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active lives as full members of their schools and communities.


The Movement for Children’s Mental Health – On Our Sleeves

On Our Sleeves is the national movement to break stigmas around children’s mental health. No family should struggle alone on their journey. Our mission is to provide free mental health educational resources to every community in America to educate families and empower advocates. We also support access to services by connecting families to trusted local resources.


Home – IU13

Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13) is an education service agency dedicated to delivering services to school districts and communities across the state.


Teen mental health support community | TGTHR 

TGTHR is a website where teens can anonymously share their stories and experiences with depression, anxiety, suicide, self-doubt, and other struggles. Teens can give and receive advice to people who need it. People can also share art, poems, pictures, and quotes.

TeenCentral l Support for Teens Facing Mental Health Issues

TeenCentral is a website powered by KidsPeace as a free and safe prevention and intervention resource specifically for youth. On TeenCentral, you can find information on a variety of topics. You can also submit a story or post about any crisis, problem, or situation you’re struggling with and receive a therapeutic support response within 24 hours, safely, anonymously, and free of charge.


National Parent Helpline | 1.855.4A.PARENT (1-855-427-2736)

Parents Anonymous® Inc. is a premier family strengthening organization leading the way in prevention by positively impacting the well-being of families and communities worldwide.


PA Promise for Children – Little Actions. Big Impact!

PA’s Promise for Children is a campaign to help families make good choices about their child’s early learning and provide resources and hotlines to connect to information about child development and early intervention services.

Please Reach Out

We Are Listening 24/7

Lancaster Crisis
800-273-TALK (8255)
Free Crisis Text Line
Text "MHA" to: