Monday, January 19, 2009

Mental Health Safety Net for Children on Chopping Block

THE DEEPEST CUTS: State Budgets in Crisis

For years, when some of Virginia's most troubled children have been struck by serious psychiatric problems, their most likely destination has been the low-rise brick building on a sprawling campus in the Shenandoah Valley that is home to the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents.

"We're the place where kids can come when they can't go anyplace else," said Jeffrey Aaron, forensic coordinator and clinical director of an adolescent unit at the Staunton center.

Now the 48-bed, state-run facility has been identified by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) as a place the state can do without. To help close a $3 billion budget gap, he has ordered the elimination of the center and a 16-bed hospital unit in southwestern Virginia that provides similar care.

Read the story

Then come back and offer alternative ways to cut spending or raise revenue. None of this is easy, and vilifying those who are desperately trying to find ways to balance the budget and minimize the damage and pain need our constructive support and ideas, not condemnation...

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