Member-Run Drop-In Center Guidelines

1.    Definition:  A member run drop-in center is a freestanding and
independently operated facility where members voluntarily visit for
socialization, fellowship, and peer support.  A member-run drop-in
center is planned, developed, and governed by an incorporated board of
directors and members according to their expressed desires and needs. 
Such a drop-in center is a non-clinical supplement to the professionally
run treatment programs.

2.    Target Population:  Persons with psychiatric disabilities who
voluntarily choose to participate in the drop-in center activities.

3.    Incorporation:  A member-run drop-in center shall be legally
incorporated in the State of Alabama.  Incorporation documents including
the Articles of Incorporation, the organization’s by-laws must be on
file with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Division of Mental
Illness Services, Office of Consumer Relations.  The drop-in center
should have 501 © (3), or some other acceptable, tax exempt status with
the Internal Revenue Service.

4.     Organizational Issues:

A.    Board of Directors:  In compliance with the incorporation
requirements in the State of Alabama, a consumer-run drop-in center will
have an independent board of directors that functions separately from
all other mental health boards.  A majority of the directors should be
local  consumers of mental health services.  The Board of Directors is
responsible for insuring the drop-in center is in compliance of all
state, local and federal laws, regulations and ensuring financial

B.    Executive Director/Activities Director/Program Director (paid
or un-paid volunteer):  If a member run drop-in center employs an
executive director, the executive director will serve at the pleasure of
the board of directors and will be directly responsible to the board
and/or its executive committee, if one exists.  The board of directors
will formulate the executive director’s job announcement, participate in
all of the interview processes, create the executive director’s job
description, and approve the hiring of the executive director.

C.    Employees:  All employees and volunteers are to be supervised
by the Executive Director/Activities Director/Program Director.

D.    Insurance:  Adequate insurance coverage must be maintained by
drop–in centers for the protection of its consumers, board of directors,
staff, assets and funding sources.

5.      Activities Plan:  Member-run drop-in centers’ day to day
activities are determined by the center’s active participants, with
input from the executive director.  No conventional mental health
treatment services are to be provided at a member run drop-in center. 
The drop-in center participants should have at least monthly activities
planning meetings.  Minutes of the meetings must be distributed to the
drop-in center participants and kept on file at the drop in center.

6.     Community Mental Heath Center and/or 310 Board Involvement and
Influence:  If the board of directors of consumer-run drop–in center
decides to accept support form local sources, governments or mental
health agencies, the center must adhere to the guidelines stipulated by
the funding source.  This support shall not imply that the drop-in
center surrenders autonomy over its operations.

7.    Confidentiality:  Each consumer-run drop-in center must comply
with all state and federal laws and regulations governing
confidentiality.  A signed confidentiality agreement for all
participants must be on file.  The drop-in center must conduct monthly
training on confidentiality.

8.    Compliance with Codes:  It is the responsibility of each
consumer-run drop-in center to research and assure that the drop-in
center is in compliance with all local, state and federal codes, laws ,
and regulations.

9.    Financial Issues:

A.  Accountability:   Each center must maintain responsible
bookkeeping and accounting methods that are in compliance with all
local, state, and federal codes, laws and regulations.  The board of
directors must receive monthly written financial reports and shall have
full access to all financial records.  All financial records should be
available to the department representatives.

B.    Grant Funds:  Funds provided by the Alabama Department of
Mental Health may be granted or contracted directly to a consumer-run
drop-in center or to a 310 board.  If funds are granted or contracted to
a 310 board, the 310 board must grant the total amount directly to the
consumer-run drop-in center within 20 days of receipt of the funds.

10.  Compliant procedure:  In order to resolve disputes and complaints internally, the
drop-in center should have a formal written complaint procedure. All attendees
should be aware of this procedure.

11. Reporting Standards:

A.  Daily:
Daily sign in sheets must be maintained and kept on file and be available for review.

B.    Monthly:
The following must be sent to the Office of Consumer Relations each month:
1)    Voucher for 1/12th of the amount of grant
2)    Attendance for the month
3)    Monthly expenditure report
4)    Copy of bank statement and copies of checks written
5)    List of checks written including the following information:
Check number
Who payable to
Purpose or what the expenditure was for

C.    Report any of the following promptly when they occur:
Any additional major funding sources
Any change in:  location or address or days per week of operation
Hours of operation
Leadership and / or employees
Board of Directors

D.    Current Copies to be on file at the Department of Mental Health:
Articles of Incorporation
501© 3
Copy of current insurance binder
Copy of confidentiality statement
List of current board of directors
Names and job descriptions of all employees