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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 08:26 AM
Original message
WP: Mental Illness Sends Many to Foster Care
Mental Illness Sends Many to Foster Care
Medical Costs Overwhelm Va. Parents

By Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2004; Page B01

RICHMOND -- Almost one of every four children in Virginia's foster care system is there because parents want the child to have mental health treatment, a report commissioned by the General Assembly states.

The study -- the result of a months-long examination of the state's foster care and mental health services -- chronicles the difficult decisions that thousands of Virginia parents have made to relinquish custody of their children to the foster care system so they can get mental health services that are otherwise unavailable or unaffordable.

Many of these parents have children who suffer from schizophrenia, severe depression or bipolar disorder. The cost of caring for these severe conditions is so high that private insurers and HMOs don't fully cover it, and in many cases, the families make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid.

But because children can get those services if they are in foster care or in special education programs, parents turn to the child welfare system, which can provide day treatment, residential care and other expensive services.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18686-20...


Can I just repeat: "Almost one of every four children in Virginia's foster care system is there because parents want the child to have mental health treatment, a report commissioned by the General Assembly states.

These are NOT parents who abuse their children or are neglecting their children because of drug use or religious zealotry, these are parents who relinquish custody to get their children necessary care that is at low-cost or free in the rest of the developed world.

Shall someone cue up Lee Greenwood now?

:cry: :grr: :cry: :grr: :cry: :grr: :cry: :grr: :cry: :grr:
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. That is a very seriously messed up state law
the rules are different in Pennsylvania and don't require you to give up your parental rights but still give your child access to treatment.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Not only mentally ill kids , but just "troubled kids"
Edited on Mon Nov-29-04 08:40 AM by SoCalDem
A woman I know was paid by the county/state $5,100 a MONTH to "foster" 3 teenaged boys.. They all had parents, but had been in and out of scrapes with the juvenile justice system, and there were "family problems", so they were put into the foster care system.

In addition to the 5,100 a month, they all had FREE medical and psych care, dental, vision..the works..

There was also extra money for school necessities once a year..

Can you imagine how their real families would have benefitted if they had been on the receiving end of that $1,700 per kid per month stipend?

Most of the kids she has cared for over the years have been from single Mom families..and with Mom working 2 or 3 jobs to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, it leaves little time for "parenting".. Of course, maybe these Moms should have chosen their sexpartners better, and chosen stable guys who would marry and protect them,. but the facts are..They DIDN'T and now the kids are here, so why not help the family of origin, instead of farming out the kids to strangers??

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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Helping the family of origin
Is something that that pinko commies in Europe do, dontcha know?!

Actually, something that has chapped my hide for years is the fact that troubled middle-class kids are considered to be that, troubled. Meanwhile, troubled poor kids are thought to be incorrigible demon spawn who are then introduced into the correctional system. When I was working for the Justice Dept., I heard a research refer to the juvenile detention system as the mental health system for poor kids: almost all of the children in one detention center she studied had a diagnosable mental disorder (oftentimes, PTSD from growing up in violent or neglectful homes and neighborhoods); many had coexisting disorders.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. very good points .....
the mental health clinic that I worked for never turned anyone away because they couldn't afford the services, but we were the exception to the rule as far as services went. There is a short-sightedness that punishes people for being poor in our society today.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. There ARE good reasons why kids are put into foster care
I've known people who work in social services and the stories they tell would curl your hair.

It's a very complicated situation and one not easily solved. Some kids are taken away from decent, but overburdened, parents while others are left to languish in the homes of chronic abusers who may eventually kill them. Maybe the abusers are better at conning the system.

I don't know what the answer is. Wish I did.
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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
3. That used to happen in NJ.
Essentially, what happened was that well-to-do parents with children that had behavioral problems were allowed to place them in long-term institutional care, where they were allowed to languish. They were also HEAVILY medicated. The children then became ripe for victimization by a really corrupt system, one that spawned all the horror stories a fevered mind can produce. The well-off parents endowed the system handsomely. It was part of the deal.

The kids just got worse, due to the fact that they lived their live heavily-medicated on a witches brew of heavy, heavy drugs like Thorazine, Stelazine, Mellaril and Biphetamine(Black Beauties). Such a regimen has now been shown to cause symptoms indistinguishable from schizophrenia, due to dopamine system depletion.

We changed it, finally, when the horror stories became too numerous and horrible to ignore.

Virginia can too. All it takes is the will to change it.
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. This is what happened when states got out of the mental health business
It doesn't just apply to kids, either.

Michigan used to have several mental health programs for kids, that offered both in and out patient services, along with intensive family counseling. These programs were free, or covered by all insurance including medicaid. After 12 years of Engler, only one is left, and it is in the Detroit area, and it always has a waiting list for non-emergency admitting. The best program, the Lafayette Clinic (which served kids and adults), was the first to go.
The foster care and delinquency systems get used for mental health treatment, because the patchwork of community mental health programs allow for kids to fall between the cracks, and they end up committing a crime or their parents just can't take anymore. Incidentally, neither of those systems has enough resources, either.

In the adult system, the former patients end up as inmates in the prison system. If they do end up in a mental health program, they get hospitalized for 3-28 days, followed by placement in adult foster care, where they can walk away at any time and are in regular neighborhoods, where families and kids live. I don't mean adult foster care for the developmentally disabled, which I think for the most part do belong in residential neighborhoods, but schizophrenics, bi-polars and others who have the potential to cause real problems if the agency supervising the foster home is not a good one.

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