Tag Archive for 'Delinquency'

Students with EBD Hit Hardest by Texas Cap in Special Ed Enrollment

According to reports Brian M. Rosenthal published in the Houston (TX, US) Chronicle, since the early 2000s when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) essentially limited enrollment in special education to 8.5% of the school population, the category of students with disabilities that saw the largest decline in enrollment was emotional disturbance.

Mr. Rosenthal published a series of articles reporting his investigation of systematic denial of services to students with disabilities in Texas beginning in September 2016. The TEA created a system for rating local education agencies’ special education programs that included a benchmark for how many students should be be enrolled. In an installment published 19 November 2016 and entitled “Mentally ill lose out as special ed declines,” he begins the report with the story of Alston Jeffus, an adolescent who is on his way home after spending months in a state hospital. Here are a few paragraphs from Mr. Rosenthal’s article:

The Texas Education Agency’s decision to set an 8.5 percent target for special education enrollment has led schools to cut services for children with all types of disabilities, but mentally ill students like Alston have been disproportionately affected, the Houston Chronicle has found.

Federal law requires schools to provide counseling, therapy, protection from discipline and other support to children with “emotional disturbances,” including severe anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, however, Texas schools serve 42 percent fewer of those students, relative to overall enrollment, than when the TEA set the benchmark in 2004.

It is a bigger drop than has occurred in almost any other disability category.

In all, an estimated 500,000 school-age children in Texas have a serious mental illness that interferes with their functioning in family, school or community activities, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Only 30,034 receive special education services.

There is a lot more to this story (subscription may be required). I recommend it to readers. Also, I encourage readers haven’t been following Mr. Rosenthal’s excellent reporting on this matter to catch up; the Chronicle published a guide to the series.

Virginia Campaign for Children’s Mental Health

Twelve key children’s services for community services boards
  1. specialized children’s emergency services;
  2. crisis stabilization;
  3. evaluations for Comprehensive Services Act services;
  4. psychiatric/medication;
  5. office-based mental health therapy;
  6. office-based substance abuse therapy;
  7. mental health case management;
  8. intellectual disabilities case management;
  9. substance abuse case management;
  10. home-based behavioral treatment and support for families;
  11. school-based day treatment; and
  12. local residential services.

Right here in my home commonwealth of Virginia last week, Mira Signe, Vicki Hardy-Murrell, John Morgan, and Margaret Nimmo Crowe explained why it is important that government and private organizations attend to and address issues in children’s mental health. By explaining that Virginia has inadequate services and that one in every five children or youths experience mental health problems at some time during their lives, they made the point that that there is a tremendous need for public focus on these issues. This was the kick-off event for the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health.

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is a 3-year sustained effort to make mental health services more available and accessible to Virginia children in need. It will strongly endorse Governor-elect McDonnell’s call for system improvements; urge the General Assembly and state and local government to work collaboratively with the administration to address system deficiencies; and conduct a high-profile three-year advocacy and education drive to build public and political support for improved mental health services for children.

Only about one in 20 of Virginia’s children have access to the key services listed in the accompanying box. So, four out of five children who need these services do not have access to them.

No, Virginia, this is not an acceptable way to treat our children. Let’s do better.

Healthy youth

Even though many schools in the US have closed for the summer or are about to do so, I want to remind folks that this is not a good time to take a break from considering the mental health needs of children and youth. Although they are likely to wax and wane over time, mental health problems don’t take many vacations.

Learn more about US resources for individual children and youths who have emotional and behavioral disorders by surfing the rich resources assembled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Although some of the materials may be a tad out of date (e.g., prevalence figures have been updated for some disorders such as Autism), there are still plenty of valuable materials available from SAMHSA.

Go there! Compare what you see learn there with what’s available at other trustworthy sites. Learn what to do and from whom help is available.

Officer training for handling incidents

Reporting on US National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Joanne Silberner presented a story about police officers handling incidents in which they encounter people with emotional and behavior disorders who are behaving in ways that appear threatening to the officers. Although her story uses adult cases for illustrations, this topic should also be of interest for youths who have EBD and for the families of children with EBD.

Here’s an excerpt from Ms. Silberner’s report.

It’s a situation no one wants to see: An armed police officer is called because someone is in the throes of a psychotic episode. “How the officer handles that situation can have a significant impact,” says Russell Laine, head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Continue reading ‘Officer training for handling incidents’

New prevention book

The US National Academies Press announced the publication of a book entitled Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities that discusses prevention of problems during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Edited by Mary Ellen O’Connell, Thomas Boat, and Kenneth E. Warner, the book represents the work of the Board on Children, Youth and Families. It is available in hardback, as a PDF, or online (the last option is free).

Mental health and substance use disorders among children, youth, and young adults are major threats to the health and well-being of younger populations which often carryover into adulthood. The costs of treatment for mental health and addictive disorders, which create an enormous burden on the affected individuals, their families, and society, have stimulated increasing interest in prevention practices that can impede the onset or reduce the severity of the disorders.

Prevention practices have emerged in a variety of settings, including programs for selected at-risk populations (such as children and youth in the child welfare system), school-based interventions, interventions in primary care settings, and community services designed to address a broad array of mental health needs and populations.

Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People updates a 1994 Institute of Medicine book, Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders, focusing special attention on the research base and program experience with younger populations that have emerged since that time.

Researchers, such as those involved in prevention science, mental health, education, substance abuse, juvenile justice, health, child and youth development, as well as policy makers involved in state and local mental health, substance abuse, welfare, education, and justice will depend on this updated information on the status of research and suggested directions for the field of mental health and prevention of disorders.

Link to the press release or the ordering page.

Patterson recognized


Gerald R. Patterson

The American Psychological Association (APA) Division 7 (Developmental Psychology), which is holding its annual meeting this weekend in Boston (MA, US), will recognize Gerald R. Patterson with the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. The award will, no doubt, be based on Jerry’s extensive and sound research on the nature, causes, and treatment of anti-social behavior in families.

According to Web site for Developmental Psychology Division of APA,

The award is for an individual whose work has, over a lifetime career, contributed not only to the science of developmental psychology, and who has also worked to the benefit of the application of developmental psychology to society. The individual’s contributions may have been made through advocacy, direct service, influencing public policy or education, or through any other routes that enable scientific developmental psychology to better the condition of children and families.

This is a wonderfully well-deserved honor for Jerry. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Jerry and his colleagues for a couple of years during my graduate studies; I learned as much about research from hanging around that operation as I did from many of my formal classes combined. His work has influenced many other researchers and clinicians as well as having a direct, beneficial effect on children and youths and their families. Learn more about Jerry and his collaborators’ research at the Oregon Social Learning Center Web site. Also, see Division 7’s Web page about the Bronfenbrenner Award.