A decade after North Carolina embarked on reforming its mental health system, the state finds itself on the verge of a lawsuit by U.S. Department of Justice.
DOJ says the state is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act for housing mentally ill people in adult care homes that are not equipped to care for those individuals.
The federal government noted in July that most people with a mental illness “could be served in more integrated settings, but are relegated indefinitely and unnecessarily to adult care homes, because of systemic State actions and policies.”
Vicki Smith, executive director with Disability Rights North Carolina, says the Department of Health and Human Services now finds itself in a “double bind.” Smith says the state can challenge the findings or comply, but both options will require more resources. This comes at a time when the legislature has ordered the department to make millions of dollars in additional cuts to help balance the state budget.
Smith appears this weekend on News & Views to discuss the dilemma. For a preview of her radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below: