Hundreds of children wait for mental health help, even after Maine pledged to follow the law

Editor’s note: This is the second story in a series on the weak spots in Maine’s care for children with mental health challenges.

A child from Clifton has waited more than nine months for help with a serious mental health issue that caused the student to miss school almost every day this school year and last school year, according to the school district’s leader.

The child is not the only one. RSU 63 Superintendent Susan Smith learned this spring that a total of three students from the Penobscot County town of Clifton, population 900, had been waiting more than six months to get treatment for often debilitating mental illness.

The Clifton children are the result of a system in peril. Maine is legally obligated to ensure no child waits more than six months for in-home behavioral health services, but young people across the state have been waiting far longer.

Nearly a decade after being relieved of court oversight on the matter, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has regressed: More than 800 children are waiting for just three programs.

The Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Hundreds of children wait for mental health help, even after Maine pledged to follow the law,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Erin Rhoda, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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