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.


In case you missed it, a wide array of North Carolina advocates signed on to a letter yesterday from the Washington, DC-based Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. The letter urges Governor Perdue to address the state’s ongoing violation of federal law in its treatment of thousands of people with mental illness by warehousing them in so-called “adult care homes” by working with advocates rather than fighting them.

You can read the letter by clicking here.

Let’s hope the Guv gets the message.


The good folks at Disability Rights NC are calling on the Governor to avoid costly litigation with the federal government and, instead, work with them and others to fix the state’s broken system for delivering services to persons with mental disabilities.

It’s a good and strong letter and you can read it by clicking here.



“Keep pushing for fundamental reform” — that’s the message that was delivered this afternoon to a a gathering of 75 people in downtown Raleigh by mental health policy expert Joshua Norris, the Director of Legal Advocacy for The Georgia Advocacy Office.

Norris was in town to headline an NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation at Marbles Kids Museum entitled “No more excuses: Building a lawful, 21st Century system for serving  people with mental illness.”

According to the Atlanta attorney, now is no time to stop with reform merely because Read More


For those interested in today’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon (“No more excuses: Building a lawful, 21st Century system for serving people with mental illness”) but who are unable to attend, we’re happy to announce that the event will be streamed live on the internet.

To watch simply go to this site or watch in the embedded player below. The event should formally commence just a few minutes after 12:00 noon.

(UPDATED – A recording of the event will be available shortly on the Policy Watch video page).

Live Video streaming by Ustream

The video will be archived afterward on the main Policy Watch site’s video section.