"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Light Dawns on Marblehead

As a follow-up to that July post concerning families in Indiana who were forced to legally admit neglect in order to obtain the mental health services their children required, I am pleased to report that state officials have unveiled a plan to provide such services for mentally ill or developmentally disabled children without requiring parents to plead guilty to neglect.
"This is a small, but important and complex population that presents a big struggle for many families. For decades, the only way these children have been able to get care is by entering the court system as a juvenile delinquent or to have their parents claim neglect so the child can become a ward of the state. And everyone agrees -- from state agencies, to prosecutors, to judges, to probation officers, to mental health experts, to families -- that is not the way to help these kids." -- DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan
Which, I suppose it was going to take strong pressure from somewhere to change the situation given that the state's Department of Child Services had publicly stated that the agency would not change any of its policies (those being the policies requiring parents to go through such a heart-breaking charade) even after a Court of Appeals' decision stating that a parent in such a situation should be "applaud[ed]", not "condemn[ed] ... through coercive action."

It would appear that in Indiana, at least in regard to this situation, light has finally dawned on marblehead. We can only pray (or demand) that it will also dawn elsewhere.

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