All of us have a vested interest in the mental and physical health of our state’s children. They depend on us to make sure they’re safe and healthy, and that their needs are being met so that they can go on to live healthy and productive lives. An important component of child health is their mental health and well-being. Many children struggle with emotional and behavioral disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and other challenges. They need specialized care to overcome these challenges. And here in Arkansas, many families turn to for-profit residential behavioral health facilities for that care. These facilities say they provide a safe, secure environment where children are able to continue their education while receiving trauma-focused, specialized services that keep the whole family involved in the treatment process.
It all sounds like a godsend to the concerned parent or guardian of a troubled child. But what’s really going on in our state’s psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs)? Independent monitoring of facilities operating here in Arkansas paint a much different picture than the glossy marketing brochures would have you believe.
Tonight, we’re going to talk about the shameful state of our state’s psychiatric residential treatment facilities: what’s really going on, what’s being done, and how YOU can take action to hold those responsible accountable. Guests include DRA Legal and Advocacy Director Thomas Nichols and DRA Staff Attorney Reagan Stanford.
If your child is in a PRTF and you would like to make a formal complaint, you can do so by emailing the state Office of Long-Term Care at email@example.com.
During the podcast, Thomas Nichols references a blog post he wrote about Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT), a Medicaid benefit designed to increase the duration and scope of treatment provided to children. You can access that blog post at this link: https://disabilityrightsar.org/epsdt-an-ounce-of-prevention-and-treatment-for-children/
Beginning next week, we will begin an awareness campaign on Twitter to educate the public and policymakers about what our monitoring activities in the PRTFs are teaching us, and how you can take action to change things for the better. Follow DRA on Twitter @DRArkansas, and look for upcoming blog posts to learn more. http://www.disabilityrightsAR.org/blog