For those of you that think this article is hopeful, it could be. For those of you that think this article is full of dispair, it could be. In the end it will be up to you, the reader to decide if they wish to allow what is going on to continue, or if they would like to join in and understand what is going on, and deciding if you wish to be part of the solution.
There is a family that has fought every day for over a year to protect their sons rights and they are thankful. They have sustained devastating financial losses and are facing bankruptcy and yet they are thankful. Their son may never know how much his parents have sacrificed and done for him and still they are thankful. After all of this, you must wonder how this family could be thankful. The answer is really pretty easy. They are together and their son is finally getting some of the help that he should have had for years. They are also thankful for all that they have learned over the last couple of years about the failures of our systems that allow innocent children to be incarcerated and are eager to begin their advocacy group to assure everyone is aware of what is going on and how to prevent this injustice.
As in most states, the state of MI has all but closed all the state run mental hospitals for children and turned the responsibility over to the local communities. The family is not necessarily in favor of state run mental institutions for children however they have learned that the move to do so, without providing adequate controls over the local communities has caused an injustice that is unforgivable. They have also learned that this is a nationwide problem. Many children with true disabilities (mental retardation, fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, etc.) are being misdiagnosed in a systematic approach to assure they may funneled through the criminal justice system as local communities do not always have the resources to deal with these problems. In addition, even those communities that could properly assist these children, have found that they may ignore these children and have them face the juvenile justice system to lesson their own financial burden. If anyone believes that turning over control from the federal government to the local communities and reducing oversight on them is the right thing to do, they only need to look at this one example to find out how many of the most vulnerable children in our society are faring under such beliefs. Nationwide there are tens of thousands of children currently in the juvenile justice system that will never get out as they are destined for prison without ever having the opportunity of having their disabilities treated appropriately. None of these children asked for their disabilities and none of them asked to have them ignored.
As we indicated you may find this article hopeful or depressing depending on how you look at it. This family however, no matter the cost and pain they have suffered are hopeful and ask that you only read the three links below and let your voices be heard. They know it will take an effort on your part and can only give you the satisfaction that by taking 30 minutes to read a truly uplifting story of love and commitment, and by sharing the message, you will know you have done something good today.