The U.S. Department of Justice has concluded their year-long investigation of West Virginia’s mental health system for children. Their findings reported that the system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act due to their reliance on facilities such as psychiatric hospitals.
In an open letter addressed to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated:
“West Virginia fails to provide services to children with significant mental health conditions in the most integrated settings appropriate to their need in violation of the ADA. The State has needlessly segregated thousands of children far from family and other people important in their lives.”
The report declared that there is a violation of civil rights for those children who were unnecessarily segregated due to mental health conditions. Additionally, the state’s fiscal resources’ are being wasted, with $67.5 million being spent on facility placements during the 2012 fiscal year, $20 million of it on out-of-state placements.
West Virginia has been found to fail at engaging the families of children with mental health conditions to help them effectively develop strategies to support children in their homes and communities.
In order to avoid federal action, the state of West Virginia will have to cooperate with the Department of Justice on a remedial framework to address current concerns and ensure compliance with the ADA.
If you or a loved one have experienced medical negligence in the care of your child, contact Jim Leach, L.C., at (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Parkersburg malpractice attorney.