Children’s Mental Health Reform

Dear Friends and Allies,

As we all know, there is little more important than investing in our children’s well-being and their ability to lead us into the future. In the spirit of a genuine desire for health and wellness for Mississippi ’s children, all of you expressed your support for significant reform of Mississippi’s children’s mental health system through your sign-on to our September, 2010 letter to the Department of Mental Health. In the interest of a sustained effort, we write you to ask for your renewed support for our efforts to ensure adequate and effective mental health services to all children in Mississippi .

As many of you may know, the Mississippi Youth Justice Project filed suit on behalf of the state’s children in need of intensive home- and community-based services. Our suit, J.B. v Barbour, is about improving the children’s mental health system so that children can receive the services they need and are entitled to receive under federal law. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between hospitalizing their child in an institution or going without services altogether. We want to help the state of Mississippi develop intensive home- and community-based services so that children can stay in their homes and communities, where they can maintain and build upon their support systems, rather than face segregation in a hospital or treatment facility.

The lawsuit is seeking two things. We want the State to create the intensive home and community-based services that children need and have a right to receive. We also want to ensure that children are not placed in hospitals and institutions when they could be more appropriately served in their homes and communities.

As another critical legislative session approaches, we will be ramping up our organizing efforts. In the coming days we will be calling you asking you to continue your support. We welcome your expertise and contributions in whatever ways you have the capacity to be effective. Specifically, we have identified the following needs:

  • Referring parents and children concerned about the state’s mental health system to MYJP
  • Helping us to locate mental health “success stories”, i.e. families that have been appropriately served without being separated from one another and who have consequently been able to turn their child’s life around
  • Support our push in the upcoming state budget cycle to fund more community and home based care options and partially divest from large, expensive and ineffective state hospitals
  • Publicizing and discussing this important issue in your newsletters, websites, blogs, and other communications
  • Participate in a long term strategy session for the 2011 legislative cycle.

It is our hope that our continued alliance can result in speedy justice for the children of Mississippi . As always, we thank you for your very important work.

Sincerely,

Ursula Price

For more information please contact Ursula Price:

Ursula Price
Advocacy Coordinator
Mississippi Youth Justice Project
921 N President St., Ste. B
Jackson , MS 39202
T: 601.948.8882 | F 601.948.8885
C 334.306.3937 | Toll Free 800.597.9583
ursula.price@splcenter.org
www.splcenter.org

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