Michigan gets a “D” for devastating children with unmet psychiatric needs

In response to the Detroit Free Press article: Newton Shootings Prompts Calls for Mental Health Reform

My son could be Heather Tillman’s son. My son could be Liza Long’s son. But he isn’t. He is my son and has suffered his entire life in MI. A state that saw its psychiatric services destroyed by John Engler before my son was even born. As a parent I am painfully furious at John Engler and ever subsequent governor (Yes, you too Mr. Snyder) that has not rebuilt or increased funding for children (and adults) to have access to medical treatment and including short-term and long-term in-patient pediatric psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment centers.

MI sends seriously psychiatrically-ill children to vile juvenile detention centers when they have committed no crime other than being born with a psychiatric illness in a state that does not care. And the public schools? Shame on each and every one for not building capacity to identify and them provide special education programs and services. Just today I attended an initial IEP for a little boy who has been suspended since early December. He was going to be expelled. I triggered a special education evaluation to slow down the expulsion and he has been found eligible for an IEP. So what did the district do in response to determining eligibility and determining that his behavior as in fact a manifestation of his disability? Te district imposed a 45 day suspension. Unbelievable. Boy that is really going to help this little guy.

Then there is the newly turned 12 year old adopted from Russia by a single mom. This child was mismanaged by Royal Oak and West Bloomfield in an inappropriate MI brand Emotionally Impaired Program and then ended up in the juvenile court system. So Royal Oak and West Bloomfield get off scot free. This child has been caged in the Children’s Village since early September.

An Oakland County referee by the name of Michael Hand who can’t count or add illegally recommended commitment to the MI Dept. of Human Services before his 12th birthday and Judge Lisa Gorcyca also struggling with her counting skills signed the order. This boy was left in Children’s Village until mid-November when referee Hand vacated the order pending the boy’s 12th birthday and with the plan to again commit him to DHS for placement in Maxey Boys, Turning Point or Star Commonwealth this month. This desperately ill child suffering from a Reactive-Attachment Disorder and Bipolar Disorder and without proper treatment his entire miserable existence in Michigan, had a full psychotic breakdown the week between Christmas and New Year’s and was sent to Hawthorne Psychiatric but not before he spent one month in Children’s Village in a psychotic state and doing things like ingesting his own feces and vomit. And what did Children’s Village surmise? Finally they decided he was suffering from a mental illness. OMG,can you say an enraged Duh,with a capital D?

And even after this the State of MI and Oakland County Court are refusing to do the right thing and help this boy. There answer is to put him into one of these juvenile detention centers instead of sending him out of state to a long-term in-patient pediatric psychiatric hospital. Let’s just destroy him and call it quits. I can’t stand it and plan on calling the media and ACLU. My son, this child and every child with psychiatric illness deserves nothing less than the same medical care afforded to children with acceptable medical diagnoses. Ad as for the public schools….shame on them.

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