Friday, September 07, 2007

Mentally ill children given up for foster care

Via Readerville, I became aware of this.

Mental Illness Sends Many to Foster Care

Almost one of every four children in Virginia's foster care system is there because parents want the child to have mental health treatment, a report commissioned by the General Assembly states.

The study -- the result of a months-long examination of the state's foster care and mental health services -- chronicles the difficult decisions that thousands of Virginia parents have made to relinquish custody of their children to the foster care system so they can get mental health services that are otherwise unavailable or unaffordable.

We are speaking of up towards 25% of all foster children in Virginia, or, going by the numbers in the article, 23%. 23%. That's 2008 children. If mental health care had been freely available for free (or at an income based cost), there would be 23% less foster children in Virginia.

And it's not isolated to Virginia.

Last year, the federal government found that at least 12,700 children were placed in foster care or juvenile jails only because they needed mental health treatment. The study called it a significant problem in every state.

Given the numbers from Virginia, I think it's safe to adjust that number quite a bit upwards.

This is an example of the human costs of the lack of an affordable health care system (such as universal health care), which ends up costing society a lot more in the long run.

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Blogger Kaethe said...

And of the 12,000+ kids placed in foster care or juvenile jails each year, how many every get out?


September 11, 2007 3:35 PM  

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