Florida refuses aid to molested foster child, judge says

06 Feb 2013 7:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
In the continuing media coverage of private entities making arbitrary decisions about care for children....

By Carol Marbin Miller

The 16-year-old girl is being raised by the state because she was repeatedly molested, first by her father and, later, by her grandfather. She has endured so much anguish that she has been diagnosed with the same illness as many combat veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Her therapists say she desperately needs residential psychiatric care. State healthcare administrators refuse to pay for it undefined saying she is a drug addict, not a child in need of mental healthcare.

In the latest clash between Florida’s embattled healthcare agency and children’s advocates, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman is accusing the Agency for Health Care Administration of concocting misleading mental health evaluations to avoid providing basic and necessary services for children in state care.

“This court has been increasingly concerned that dependent children are being denied much-needed treatment for mental health disorders undefined contrary to the first stated purpose of [child welfare law], which is to provide for the care, safety and protection of children,” Hanzman wrote.

The three children in Hanzman’s 38-page, Feb. 1 order are among about 19,000 in state care.

AHCA already has drawn harsh criticism in recent months over claims it is cutting in-home care to severely disabled children so deeply that many parents have no choice but to warehouse their children in geriatric nursing homes.

In that case, as in Hanzman’s order, advocates claim the healthcare agency is paying a private company to justify sometimes deep cuts in services to the most needy.

In both cases, the agency has been accused of employing arbitrary criteria to produce the result it desires: spending fewer dollars to provide care.

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