Sunday, January 16, 2022

Play

A new survey shows discrimination in medical settings affects quality of care; U.S. Supreme Court rejects vaccine and testing mandates for businesses; and New York moves toward electric school buses.

Play

U.S. House passes a new voting rights bill, setting up a Senate showdown; President Biden announces expanded COVID testing, and Jan. 6 Committee requests an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Play

New website profiles missing and murdered Native Americans; more support for young, rural Minnesotans who've traded sex for food, shelter, drugs or alcohol; more communities step up to solve "period poverty;" and find your local gardener - Jan. 29 is National Seed Swap Day.

State Task Force Urges Maine to Phase Out Only Juvenile Facility

Play

Thursday, February 27, 2020   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A task force in Maine is recommending that the state's only juvenile-corrections facility be emptied within three years.

A group of legislators and juvenile justice experts has spent more than six months analyzing Long Creek, Maine's only juvenile facility. It also hired the Center for Children's Law and Policy, a D.C.-based nonprofit, to write a report examining the state's juvenile justice system.

This extensive report was presented at the statehouse this week, with recommendations for increasing community-based responses and limiting the number of confined youths.

Atlee Reilly is the managing attorney at Disability Rights Maine and a task force member. He was asked if he thinks Long Creek can be phased out within three years.

"Hopefully it won't take that long," says Reilly. "If a lot of these recommendations are followed, it will become even clearer than it is now that Maine does not need a facility of the type and size of Long Creek."

The facility can house more than 160 youth, but these days it usually has fifty to sixty young people there. This is also because Maine has diverted a lot of youths from Long Creek in the past decade.

The task force strongly recommends funding more community-based alternatives, including mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs.

According to the report, more than half of the young people at Long Creek are there simply because they need care and have nowhere else to go. The report also says that 73% of those detained at Long Creek for more than thirty days were just waiting for another placement or community-based programming.

Malory Shaughnessy is the executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Maine and a task force member. Shaughnessy says one of the biggest challenges is the low level of Medicaid reimbursement for behavioral-health treatment.

"We have empty beds in our residential treatment units because reimbursement rates have not kept up and they cannot afford to hire staff to staff those beds," says Shaughnessy.

She claims there are currently thirty-five to forty empty beds because of this workforce shortage.

Shaughnessy notes that reimbursement rates for behavioral health services from MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program, haven't changed since the minimum wage was $5 to $6 an hour. Now it's $12 an hour.

So, because these facilities can't afford to hire staff, Shaughnessy says too many youths are waiting for addiction and mental-health treatment.

"Youths that are prescribed 20 hours of intensive treatment for six months get maybe 10 hours or get none at all," says Shaughnessy. "Or we have over 500 kids at various times, of youth on waiting lists for this treatment."

Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, a co-chair of the juvenile justice task force, is sponsoring a bill that would phase out Long Creek and provide $3.5 million this year for community-based therapeutic services and other youth programs.

Right now, Maine spends about $17 million a year to operate Long Creek. Brennan's bill has a public hearing next week.


get more stories like this via email

Emissions from all buses, cars, and trucks make up 30% of New York City's carbon footprint. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

In her 2022 State of the State address, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul set new goals for electrifying the school bus fleets in the state. Clean-energy …


Social Issues

Finding and affording child care is no cakewalk for Oregon families right now. A new report details the pressures and some potential policy fixes…

Social Issues

Acknowledging the pandemic's toll on Kentucky students, teachers and families, Gov. Andy Beshear announced last night a state budget which would make …


Some dental providers in Minnesota's underserved communities say they have long waiting lists because of low reimbursement rates tied to public health programs. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

This month, Minnesota has raised state reimbursement rates for dentists who accept patients enrolled in the state's Medicaid program. Groups working …

Social Issues

Mobile carriers are starting to decommission their 3G cellular networks this year, some as soon as next month. Pennsylvania officials are reminding …

In the new survey, 38% of Black men surveyed in Ohio reported either being denied care or being provided inferior care in a medical setting. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A new report suggests discrimination in medical settings affects the quality of care for many Ohioans. In a survey of more than 800 people, …

Environment

One hundred years ago today, the Izaak Walton League of America was founded in Chicago, with a mission of local stewardship of wild places, citizen …

Environment

An alliance of environmental groups and lawmakers has released an ambitious, wide-ranging set of goals for the 2022 Arizona Legislature. The …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021