Texas Child Welfare Digest Vol. IV
A gathering of news, opinion, events, studies and resources. Year-end edition.
BIG STORIES IN 2015
May 4, 2015 | By Beth Cortez-Neavel | Texas Observer
“The task force reported that foster kids experience mental illness at a rate almost 30 percent greater than the average child population and that they are less likely to get treatment. It found that unresolved trauma has enormous consequences that may follow kids to adulthood: learning difficulties, ongoing behavior problems, impaired relationships, poor social and emotional competence and shorter life spans.
“Kids don’t get appropriate trauma treatment and often are misdiagnosed and medicated for mental illnesses for which they don’t completely fit the profile. Mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and ADHD exhibit symptoms similar to those related to severe childhood trauma. Caregivers are not adequately trained to care for traumatized kids, so kids become mistrustful of them, and cycle through multiple medical providers, foster families, group homes and treatment centers.”
“For decades, politicians, bureaucrats, academics, and the media have labeled Arizona’s child welfare system as broken, and according to the most recent DCS data, one out of every 100 kids is in out-of-home care. In a 2014 state-by-state comparison, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charity devoted to helping disadvantaged kids, ranked Arizona’s system 46th in the nation.”
“The judge, in a ruling released Friday evening, said that children should not be held for more than 72 hours unless they are a significant flight risk or a danger to themselves and others.”
“A provision in the two-year state budget for the forthcoming biennium illustrates the potential pitfalls of that situation. Last month Emily DePrang, of Quorum Report, reported that advocates for children’s health were becoming alarmed about a provision calling for severe cuts to the Texas Medicaid Acute Care Therapy Program. The budget calls for about $400 million worth of cuts to the program (which is, like other Medicaid programs, funded by state and federal dollars).”
“Hundreds of children were found to be taking five or more psychotropic medications at a time, and thousands were prescribed doses that exceeded FDA-approved guidelines. According to the report, monitoring programs fell short of guidelines established by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Many of the medications have side effects that include lethargy, weight gain, diabetes and tremors.”
“U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi said the state violated the Constitution by keeping about 12,000 youngsters for years in an underfunded and poorly run system ‘where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication and instability are the norm.’”
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