Crown Politics

LePage’s plan to put kids in a new kind of psychiatric institution

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

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has taken the first steps toward creating a new kind of psychiatric facility in Maine for children and teenagers with intensive mental health needs, in a move that defies decades of state policy and at a time when community services are more difficult to access.

The administration last month released two sets of proposed rules that would govern psychiatric residential treatment facilities and how much the facilities’ operators would be paid to run them.

The early steps to set up these treatment centers — which would be a step down in restrictiveness from psychiatric hospitals — come at a critical juncture for Maine’s tenuous system of mental health services for children.

They follow two decades during which the state expanded the availability of mental health services that children could receive in their homes and local communities. Those years marked a decisive move away from using institutions to house children with mental illness, autism and intellectual disabilities.

The Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “LePage’s plan to put kids in a new kind of psychiatric institution,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Matthew Stone, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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