Report Says VA Has Too Few Mental Health Services for Children

By: DENA POTTER - Associated Press Writer
By: DENA POTTER - Associated Press Writer

A new report says Virginia offers too few mental health services for children, and that those who don't get the services they need often land in costly psychiatric facilities or incarcerated.

The report released Tuesday by advocacy group Voices for Virginia's Children says too few services are available in the community, and there are "unacceptably long" waits to access those that are available. It found services for those in crisis are particularly lacking.

When the services are needed and not available, children often end up in residential facilities or in the juvenile justice system, where more than half of those incarcerated have a diagnosed mental illness.

The report said Virginia's fragmented system forces parents to navigate a complex labyrinth of local and state-funded programs in order to get help.

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