Lawsuit settlement could lead to fewer institutionalized children

Mental health services for juveniles required under a recent legal settlement could eventually cost the state an estimated $32 million a year, but could result in fewer kids ending up in foster care or state institutions.

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the settlement resolves a class-action lawsuit filed by the group Disability Rights Washington on behalf of youth up to age 21 that lawyers argued were being unnecessarily institutionalized.

The money will be spent on efforts to keep those kids in their homes as they receive treatment under Medicaid for mental and emotional disorders.

Under the program, a child would undergo a screening after being identified by a school or a health-care provider and then be placed into the new program of intensive treatment.

A database would help track the child’s progress.

The state would begin by offering the program to about 250 children.

To read more, click on the Tacoma News Tribune Story on mental health services for kids lawsuit.