The mission of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County (MHMRA) is to “provide or ensure the provision of services and supports in a respectful fashion that are high quality, efficient, and cost effective such that persons with mental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating, and contributing members of our community as possible, regardless of their ability to pay or third party coverage.”
MHMRA of Harris County is the conduit (“Local Authority”) through which all Home and Community-based Services (HCS) will be rendered and coordinated once your/my autistic child becomes eligible for HCS, if he/she/we are still residing in Harris County. The waiting list for services is several years long, but that is quite more a Texas than a county phenomenon.
Since Clear Lake is on the boundary between MHMRA of Harris County and the Gulf Coast Center MHMR, I’ve often wondered if it would be better to move over into Galveston County to work with a smaller agency which seems to have its act together. . . though I will say that many are convinced that Fort Bend County is the very best. Lots of things with MHMRA of Harris County strike me as being screwed up–their website has broken links, the online chat doesn’t work, the listings in the vendor resource fair don’t play–all of which (I’m sorry MHMRA) doesn’t inspire confidence. I hate to think that my adult child’s access to services and quality of life is bound up with a big bureaucracy, but that may be the reality.
I haven’t had much interaction with Harris County MHMRA except for one of their psychologists to do an an autism evaluation to get my child on the waiting list for services. I recall the psychologist said my child had moderate autism, and I said,”He’s nonverbal and can’t feed himself. How can that be moderate?” If he can follow direction to sit in a chair and touch his nose with his finger he’s moderate. And he added, “You won’t believe the children I see coming through the door.” Another time when I was contacted about ABA-SKip services which were way too far away (somewhere on 290), too expensive (they applied a sliding scale fee), and held during working hours. Seemed everything they had to offer was for a stay at home mom living at the poverty level. When I contacted them asking about residential facilities in my area they said “it was too soon” for them to speak with me about it and I had to wait until my child’s name came up on the list.
There is a really shining star and MHMRA by the name of Evanthe Collins, who inspired me with confidence and gave me really good information on HCS providers in the Clear Lake area. Thanks, Evanthe! Please do not leave MHMRA!!
Through the county RIDES program, disabled people who are unable to drive can be transported to doctors or to go grocery shopping. See the entry for RIDES under Transportation Services.