Report Assesses Progress in Case on Quality of Mental Health Care in Los Angeles County
Although some progress has been made, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services "has still not demonstrated a commitment to achieving the objectives of the settlement" of a class-action lawsuit in which five children claimed they received inadequate mental health care, according to a report by a court-appointed panel of mental health experts, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report, which was filed on Tuesday in federal court, is the fifth to be submitted in the case.
According to the panel, mental health assessments by social workers when children enter the child welfare system have improved. In addition, the panel said that the county is expanding programs to provide individualized care to children, although county officials said they continue to use institutional care for many children with mental illnesses.
Marvin Southard, director of the county Department of Mental Health, said that mental health agencies that contract with the county did not quickly offer services for children living at home, but he said that situation is changing. Southard said that his department provides services to about 11,780 children and that it will provide services to an additional 950 children in the next year.
Los Angeles County will receive about $90 million over the next six months under Proposition 63. About two-thirds of the money will be allocated to providing mental health services for children in Los Angeles County (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 8/18).