DSHS Settles Case Involving Children with mental health needs

Aug 30, 2013

In 2009, the state was sued by advocates representing children on Medicaid who have schizophrenia, depression and other mental illnesses. The advocates argued that the Department of Social and Health Services wasn’t providing sufficient home based services to help keep them stable.

Yesterday the different sides reached an agreement to change that.

Jane Beyer is an Assistant Secretary for the Department of Social and Health Services.

“We will have, in place, in the community for the youth and their families, intensive, community based services, so that we can avoid a youth having to placed out of home. Either in foster care or in a hospital setting, or hopefully, what we would be avoiding also, is any kind of involvement with the juvenile justice system" says Beyer.

Beyer says those community based services include a mobile response team that could respond to a youth in a crisis. For example, if a child was having severe problems coping with anger, a specialist could be called to help, instead of police.

Officials say the new system could serve as many as 6-thousand children and youth each year,
It’s expected to be in place across the state in five years.

The changes are not a done deal. A federal judge needs to approve the settlement. And the state legislature will need to allocate money to pay for it.

Copyright 2013 KUOW.