Craig Jarvis at Under the Dome has an encouraging story on today’s meeting of a special “blue ribbon” commission. The commission is dealing with the issue (highlighted here at NC Policy Watch on multiple occasions) in which the state has been unlawfully warehousing people with mental illness in adult care homes.
“The 32-member Blue Ribbon Commission on Transitions to Community Living met for the first time and spent the day at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh getting up to speed on several pressing issues.
The state is working toward that goal in an agreement with the federal Department of Justice in order to avoid being sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A federal investigation alleged that the state wrongly confined thousands of people in adult care homes and institutions. Read More
North Carolina has fouled up yet another opportunity for significant progress in how it treats and cares for people with mental illness. That is the conclusion drawn by the experts and advocates Disability Rights NC this morning in response to an announcement that the state has failed to reach a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice with respect to a “letter of findings” issued by the feds last July.
As is stated in the press release issued by DRNC and reproduced below, the Perdue administration has, sadly, opted for several more years of glacial-paced “progress” on the issue of warehousing mentally ill people in “rest homes” rather than biting the bullet and entering into a bona fide and enforceable agreement as has been done in other states. All in all, a sad day for the cause:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vicki Smith, Executive Director
Disability Rights North Carolina
State Avoids Enforcement in Its Failure to Reach Agreement with the USDOJ Regarding Its Legal Obligation to North Carolinians with Mental Illness Read More
If you envision the Dix property in downtown Raleigh as a 306-acre park, there are small signs that a vision which began as early as 2003, when the General Assembly decided to move Dorothea Dix Hospital to Butner, could become reality.
But to fulfill this grand dream, a powerful coalition is needed to propose a plan to address the needs of mental health, conservation, Raleigh city officials and state government as well as to drive and focus the effort.
Disability Rights North Carolina is calling on state officials to provide necessary services to North Carolina’s mentally ill children who also have other disabilities. The advocacy group’s appeal follows an investigation that revealed a lack of available mental health services, leading to long waits in emergency rooms, hospitalizations, and institutionalization out-of-state.
Vicki Smith, Executive Director with Disability Rights N.C., notes that “debilitating” funding cuts by the General Assembly’s have only made matters worse for families trying to find adequate treatment for these children.
Here’s an excerpt from the report released Wednesday:
“These funding cuts and lack of necessary and appropriate community services mean North Carolina’s children increasingly face institutionalization, many in other states. While most children still receive mental health services in a private residence (e.g. their home, a relative’s home), a significant number of children receive services in out-of-home settings, including psychiatric residential treatment facilities, community residential homes, foster homes, youth development centers (e.g. training schools) and state psychiatric hospitals. While the percentage of children treated in out-of-home residential treatment facilities has fallen nationally, statistics suggest that North Carolina’s children are not experiencing the same trend.North Carolina more than quadrupled the number of locked residential placements from 117 in 2005 to 494 in March 2010.
The State recently presented a plan that requires community-based services be tried before a more restrictive out-of-home placement is used. This plan uses a model called the System of Care, which is built on the involvement of children and families, the development of individualized treatment plans that meet the unique needs of each child and family, and the coordination of services among multiple providers of services. Yet each of these provider systems is facing devastating budget cuts. The System of Care may be a great model, but where are the funds to pay for the staff to implement it?
Reduced spending for North Carolina’s children with disabilities will only increase the pressure on an already strained system of care — resulting in more costly outcomes for everyone. Cuts to the system have been counterproductive.”
Click here to read their special report, Kids Caught in a Double Bind: North Carolina’s Failure to Care for Children with Dual Disabilities.
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