Indiana DCS Launches Pilot Program Aimed At Mental Health

The Indiana Department of Child Services is opening a center that will assess children's mental health as a preventative measure.

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Photo: Massimo Catarinella (Wikimedia)

The Department of Child Services says it will assess its pilot program before a possible expansion next spring.

Indiana‘s Department of Child Services says it is launching a pilot program to help about 300 preteens and teenagers with potentially dangerous mental-health issues.

The state plans an “access center” in Lawrenceburg‘s community mental health center to determine kids‘ psychiatric or psychological needs and assign them to an appropriate care facility. DCS will review how that program goes before expanding statewide next spring.

DCS already provides mental-health counseling to abused children or kids referred to mental health centers by juvenile courts.  But DCS chief of staff John Ryan says that still leaves hundreds of kids who are a danger to themselves or others who lack private insurance coverage and d not qualify for help through one of the other avenues.

“If I‘ve heard this phrase once, I‘ve heard it a dozen times: they sort of fall between the cracks,” Ryan says.

He says kids should not have to commit crimes before they get the help they need.

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