Disabled NC children sent to other states

Because we refuse to make the needed changes to our mental health system:

A study released Wednesday by Disability Rights North Carolina says the state is failing children with a "dual diagnosis," such as having both autism and bipolar disorder. The report shows the state quadrupled the number of children housed in facilities outside North Carolina between 2005 and 2010, from 117 to 494.

To call this a "failure" is a gross understatement. It's somewhere between an abrogation of responsibility and criminal negligence. And yes, this might sound petty and self-centered, but it's also downright embarassing. South Carolina and Tennessee can provide better care? Really?

The report highlights the stories of four North Carolina children, including an 11-year-old boy injected with excessive doses of powerful anti-psychotic drugs while he was hospitalized, leading to new symptoms that include drooling and tremors.

That last part could actually be tardive dyskinesia, which in many cases becomes a permanent (life-long) physical attribute. Unnecessary damage to the brain, as it were, that you'll often find in treatment facilities that are undermanned and underskilled.

Here's more from DRNC:

"These are not isolated cases. Sadly, they are examples of what happens everyday to North Carolina children with complex needs," said Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights NC. "The state knows what to do, yet does not do it. Our children deserve better." Smith will be accompanied at the news conference by at least one of the parents. Other parents will be available by telephone.

In all four cases, highlighted in a report about the investigation entitled, "Kids Caught in a Double Bind: North Carolina's Failure to Care for Children with Dual Disabilities," the children's experiences would have been different if the State's recently presented plan -- the System of Care model -- had been implemented. This plan requires community-based services be tried before more restrictive out-of-home placements. Funding cuts and a failure to hold the state's Local Management Entities (LMEs) accountable make implementation of the System of Care model nearly impossible. The report will be available at the news conference.

News Conference:
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
Offices of Disability Rights North Carolina
2626 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 550
Raleigh, NC 27608