“I want to thank the committee for listening to all the people who came today,” Howard Belodoff, the attorney in the Jeff D lawsuit over state mental health services to children, told JFAC at this morning's budget hearing. “I've been waiting 30 years to come to you and tell you that these children need services, mental health services, and those services need to be in the community in which they live. .. Over the last few years, drastic cuts have been made.”
Belodoff said, “They are telling parents, 'Take your kids to juvenile corrections, charge them, bring them into court, and then we'll serve them.'” The result, he said: “A 3,000 percent increase since fiscal year 2007 in the number served through the courts.” Belodoff brandished Health & Welfare documents about the changes and said, his voice rich with emotion, “Please, take a look at the budget.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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