The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Teacher’s stabbing ‘a wake-up call’ on coordinating mental care

There seems to be a growing consensus that the public have a right to know about offenders who are released into the general population–whether sex offenders, aggravated offenders, or juvenile offenders.  It seems that we, as a people, feel that we are entitled to know when a person who is potentially dangerous by history is plopped into our world.

On one hand, I can see the point.  I would want to know if a sex offender moved in next door to my daughter.  Who wouldn’t?  I would want to know if a child that has a rap sheet for aggravated assault and bodily injury is placed in my grandson’s home room.  To me that would be necessary.

On the other hand, I feel that these offenders still have some rights.  Where do we draw the line?  I honestly don’t know, but with all the privacy laws out now and with all the litigation going on, how does an innocent person protect themselves and their family from dangerous predators?

What do you think about this?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, May 30, 2010

By LEE HANCOCK / The Dallas Morning News
lhancock@dallasnews.com

Todd Henry’s slaying by a disturbed teen spotlights gaps between agencies that care for, educate and incarcerate mentally ill youth.

“It’s a wake-up call,” said Fred Cohen, an Arizona lawyer who is a federal court-appointed special master for Ohio’s juvenile prisons.

But the issues that the case raises aren’t unique to Texas. As mental health funding has steadily dropped, juvenile prison systems nationwide have been sent more seriously disturbed youth – offenders they’re not designed to handle.

Experts say the Tyler case highlights the need for:

• An interdisciplinary approach to treating kids and families from first contact with welfare, criminal justice or educational agencies.

In Dallas County, kids with behavioral issues in school are referred to a case review committee that includes mental health and juvenile probation staff. In the justice system, offenders can be routed to diversion courts and intensive community programs that include regular home visits.

A new Bexar County pilot program screens all San Antonio-area kids seen by Child Protective Services for mental health and medical needs. Kids flagged are referred for intensive, interagency care coordination and treatment – all considered key to keeping abused and neglected children from becoming juvenile offenders.

• Assurance that Texas Youth Commission offenders released on mental health discharges are overseen by an interdisciplinary team that includes family members.

South Carolina offers one model, said Jodie Smith, public policy director of Texans Care for Children. An interdisciplinary team makes an assessment within 30 days after any offender in the juvenile  […more…]

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June 9, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , ,

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