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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Child welfare advocates question state's plan for children in need"

A new NWI Times child welfare story today by Marisa Kwiatkowski, part of the series, "Children in Peril." It supplements this story last Monday by the same reporter, headed "State officials offer solution to meet mental health needs of children."

Today's story begins:

While many child welfare advocates said Indiana's plan to close the gap in mental health services for children is a step in the right direction, others fear the proposal is nothing more than "blowing smoke."

The Indiana Department of Child Services announced Monday a plan to use community mental health centers to evaluate children who have mental illnesses and are a danger to themselves or others.

Officials from DCS, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and the Division of Disabilities and Rehabilitative Services worked with others to develop the plan to get children needed services without court intervention. * * *

The state's plan offers families, school officials, residents, judges, probation officers, prosecutors and public defenders an avenue to secure mental health services for children without going through the court system.

But child welfare advocates say they are concerned the plan doesn't go far enough to address children's unmet mental health needs.

"This is blowing smoke," said Barbara Layton, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Porter County. "This is not enough."

Layton and other advocates who work with children said the state's plan does not address the dearth of providers who can handle the specialized needs of children with mental illnesses.

Layton said the families she works with have children who already have used community wraparound services and short-term residential placement with little success.

"These children have much more serious issues that a Band-Aid is not going to fix," she said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 23, 2012 10:19 AM
Posted to Indiana Government