With all the problems in the world today it is difficult to take the time or invest ourselves in any one of them. Here in the U.S. we listen to how dysfunctional our government is, how greedy Wall Street is, how we have become a second rate country, and as individuals most of us feel powerless. The one thing that we can do to change things is to band together on a specific issue, address it, and then move on. The only way change takes place in our country is when enough voices join together to assure change happens. With this article I am asking that everyone take a hard look at what we are doing as a society to our children with real disabilities and lend your voice to effect change.
In many states children's mental hospitals have been closed with the intent of turning control over to the local communities where these children can be better supported in their homes. You may look at this and wonder what is wrong with that. In terms of the intent it could actually be a great idea, however in practice what has happened is that many of these children are being funneled into the criminal justice system instead of receiving the help that was intended.
As these hospitals were closed the money allocated was diverted to the local Community Mental Health Departments. In states across this country the local Community Mental Health Departments have found a way around assuming their responsibility to help these children by mis-diagnosing them and diverting them into the criminal justice system. This way they may roll over the unused Medicaid funds for their own purposes. The real shame is that many of these kids could be helped however without appropriate help at an early age many are being sentenced to the criminal justice system for life as they do not have the coping ability to function in society.
I envite all to read and vote for the following stories of one family who fought the system and is requesting that you assist them in their struggle to get the word out by forwarding these links to anyone you believe would support their fight. This family is forming an advocacy group (and a Newsvine Group) to help the tens of thousands of children that are currently incarcerated for only having a disability. Most parents do not realize they could fight the system or do not have the ability take on such powerful organizations so their children are now suffering in the juvenile justice system and the only crime they committed was being born with a disability. They know this is asking a lot and at the same time they would ask how can we not do something for the most vulnerable in our society by just letting our voices be heard. You may help by voting for the articles below, leaving a comment, and passing them along. Every movement starts with awareness.
Children's Community Mental Hell (Part 1 of 1)
Children's Community Mental Hell (Part 1 of 2)
Children's Community Mental Hell (Part 1 of 3)