The Mental Health Advocacy Service (MHAS) is an independent state agency which provides free legal services under Louisiana’s Behavioral Health Law for patients who are hospitalized due to mental illness or substance abuse.  MHAS also protects patients’ rights and provides information on behavioral health law to consumers, hospitals, and the public.

Established by the state legislature in 1977 as part of its reform of mental health law, MHAS has eight regional offices.

In 2006, the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) was established within MHAS pursuant to Act #271. This program provides legal representation for children in abuse and neglect proceedings in fourteen parishes and three city courts. Our attorneys provide consistent, reliable and expert legal representation to children who have been removed from their parents’ care, or who are otherwise under the care and custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.