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At Citizen Advocates, we are committed to making lives better. The individuals, families and communities we serve receive a full range of health and lifestyle care through innovative, industry-leading services and programs. All of this is achieved through a person-centered approach that supports and celebrates each individual’s choices.

We are here to make a positive difference in the life of any individual needing help along the unique road to health, independence and fulfillment. The work we do is driven by respect for humanity and the rights of individuals as they explore what it means to define their own future. We are proud to provide quality, compassionate care and do so from the bottom of our hearts.

Our work may be difficult at times, but that’s what makes it meaningful. We will persevere with courage and optimism. We are Citizen Advocates.

Our mission & values:

Mission: Making Lives Better

Our vision is to be the recognized leader of exceptional services and employer of choice. We do this by providing high-quality, person-centered care, through sound financial management, best-in-class customer service and fostering workplace culture that matters.

Our history:

Originally founded in 1975, Citizen Advocates served as a work program for individuals with a need for developmental and behavioral health support. At the time, the organization had 12 employees serving 50 individuals. Today, Citizen Advocates employs 750 health professionals and support staff who provide a broad range of services with compassion and skill to 6,500 individuals on an annual basis. With administrative offices in Malone, Citizen Advocates provides developmental disability, mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties.

Leadership team:

James Button, CEO

James Button, Chief Executive Officer
Over the course of nearly 10 years, Mr. Button served as the Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Assurance, Children’s Residential Coordinator at the Adirondack Youth Lodge and various Community Support Services roles. He left the organization briefly to serve as Behavioral Health Initiatives Director for the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors in Albany before returning as COO in 2017. He was promoted to the CEO position in July, 2020.

Dr. Joshua Frank, CMO

Dr. Joshua Frank, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Frank first worked for Citizen Advocates from 2010 to 2017, when he left to serve as Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. In addition to providing treatment services at Citizen Advocates Behavioral Health Clinics and Crisis & Recovery Center in Malone, Dr. Frank has direct oversight over other physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nursing staff.  

Board of Directors
Nicholas Eells, President
Jennifer Bilow, Vice President
Deanna Smith, Secretary
Brock Arnold
Paul Goodrow
Felix Tam
Lori Tourville

Sub-committee Chairs
Finance & Planning: Nicholas Eells
Integrated Services: Jennifer Bilow
Governance & Compliance: Felix Tam