Divergent News

Meeting A Founder In The California Mental Health Movement

Carolyn Cooper, a founder of United Advocates for Children and Families (UACF), and Eve Hinson. writer of this here blog, meeting at a training to help folks learn how to help reduce the mental health stigma in their communities on January 25, 2014.

1.25.14 Instagram caption:

Met Carolyn Cooper, a founder of United Advocates for Children and Families. Her story was incredible and heartbreaking. She didn’t let the tragedy of the failing of mental health support systems, and the lack of them for her son, stop her from helping other children and families.

1.25.14 Facebook comments:

… This woman is an inspiration. More about the story she shared: She was an early learning educator and experienced some mental health challenges during her last pregnancy and was placed on medication. When she asked the doctors if it would hurt the baby, the answer was no. That was untrue. Her son was born with different behaviors and struggled greatly through school. He had an IEP. In an attempt to thwart his bullies, he was expelled from all schools in California and was left without an education. He was unable to receive help or services for his challenges and a life that might have been helped, was marked by jail time and, later, ended with a bullet. However, while her son was in jail, Folsom, she found the conditions terrible and took her son’s IEP into the prison system and had it adhered to. Her son, if I recollect this correctly, was the only person to have his special needs addressed while in prison. The governor, at the time, came in after and stopped anyone else from receiving special needs services while in jail/prison.

… As a mom to special needs children, this has been one of my greatest fears. To hear a mother go through this and share that if he had help earlier, support, services, early intervention this could have been a very different outcome is stunning. That she continues the fight so that others can benefit from her experience and her son’s is amazing. To find out more about her organization visit,

… I should also not forget to mention, she took her son’s school issues to the Civil Rights office and the schools were found to be not in compliance (or some such). She did state, when you win something like that it doesn’t help your child. It helps the children after your child. So while the case was won, her son didn’t receive the benefits.


By Eve Reiland

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