Federal report critical of W. Virginia mental health system

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2015 1:18 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal authorities say West Virginia's mental health system relies too much on facilities like hospitals to treat children and should make changes such as expanding in-home services to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Department of Justice says West Virginia never implemented its 2005 response plan to federal requirements that the mentally disabled be placed in the community whenever appropriate.

Changes suggested by the report include eliminating unnecessary residential placements and ensuring that mentally disabled children aren't kept there longer than necessary. It also calls for expanding in-home and community services and ensuring family involvement.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling says the investigation has strengthened her agency's resolve to continue system improvements.

The investigation's results were first reported by The Register-Herald of Beckley.