Saturday, March 24, 2007

For every child Brooklawn admits, it must turn away six

Readers forum: Soaring need requires more group homes for youths
Louisville Courier-Journal, Feb. 4, 2007, pg. H2.

We present some facts as part of the discussion about the proposed Brooklawn group home issue: Brooklawn's value to our community and its successes simply cannot be overstated.

Serving dependent children and youth, most of whom have emotional and behavior problems related to neglect, abandonment, physical or sexual abuse or other significant trauma, Brooklawn is an enviable human services success story for any community.

The course of treatment at Brooklawn typically takes about a year before a child is ready to be discharged.

Only youths who have successfully completed Brooklawn's campus-based treatment program will be considered for admission to the proposed group home, and almost every resident will be attending a public school or university before being considered for admission.

By state law, no youth who has committed a sex crime can be admitted into a group home or other facility with dependent, neglected or abused children.

Unfortunately, there has been a huge increase in the number of children in the state's foster care system over the last few years, overwhelming the supply of available foster homes statewide.

Thus, options for children completing treatment have been greatly reduced, and successful residents must stay at Brooklawn much longer than before.

This, in turn, prevents admission of children on the long waiting list. Sadly, for every child Brooklawn admits, it must turn away six!

Our community needs group homes. Our community needs programs like Brooklawn's that offer a proven method to help children and youth. Brooklawn helps our community, and our community needs to help Brooklawn.

Executive director, Kentucky Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Louisville 40223

Bob McFadden, president of the Louisville Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also signed this letter.


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