April 02, 2007

Virginia Children with Schizophrenia Will No Longer Need to Be Placed in Foster Care to Receive Services

In many states, including Virginia, parents of children with severe neurobiological brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, and others, have often had an anguishing decision to make in order to get their children the care they needed.

For parents who could afford insurance coverage, often, the insurance would not cover the high cost of care for "mental" as opposed to "medical" illness. At the same time, the parents' incomes were too low to afford to pay for the care themselves, but too high for them to qualify for Medicaid. They have had no choice but to relinquish cutody of their children to the state - placing their children into foster care - in order for the children to receive services.

According to the Washington Post,

The practice of relinquishing custody became so widespread that a 2004 report commissioned by the General Assembly found that nearly one of every four children in foster care -- more than 2,000 -- was placed there to seek group homes and other treatment facilities.

Now, under the state of Virginia's governor, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a directive has been issued instructing the local county governments "to broaden their interpretation of the program that provides mental health care, known as the Comprehensive Services Act, to offer assistance to more children." Several months ago, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell issued an advisory opinion backing this policy change, but that did not have the power to mandate change. This directive does.

The county governments are fighting this directive which would make the counties share in the costs. They say they are worried about paying for the policy shift.

Read the Full Article: Mentally Ill Children To Get More Services

Related Reading:
Foster Care as a Last Resort to Obtain Psychiatric Treatment for One's Children

Virginia Parents turning to Foster Care for Help


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