October 26

Government sanctioned Assault on Children and Pregnant Women

Government sanctioned Assault on Children and Pregnant Women

Fri, 23 Jul 2004

President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health has set off aggressive “screening for mental illness” initiatives that are nothing short of an assault on personal dignity and legal rights. The target population of forced mental health “screening,” are America’s children and pregnant women.

If allowed to go forth, these programs will create a totalitarian Orwellian nightmare.

Illinois is on the fast-track of adopting legislation mandating mental health testing for children and pregnant women:

Citing "early intervention as key to academic success and crime prevention, this new law, if enacted according to current recommendations, would also require all pregnant women to be screened prior to delivery for depression and periodically for the first six months after she gives birth.”

“Screenings, testing, and treatments are to be offered in homes, pre-schools, daycare, and throughout the public school system. A child over the age of 12 will be provided two mental health sessions without parental consent.”

This is not science fiction!

The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 was signed into law. The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly last spring, sponsored in the House by State Representatives Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) and Patricia Bellock (R-Westmont). State Senator Maggie Crotty (D-Oak Forest) and Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) shepherded the legislation through the Senate. The legislation passed the House with a 107 to 5 vote, and the Senate unanimously.

The $10 million plan for the implementation of the Act is being considered at this week’s public forums.

There is absolutely no redeeming feature to ANY mandatory mental health screening programs. There are no proven “treatments” for the prevention of mental illness.

Screening for mental illness programs are intended to give government control in defiance of constitutional rights, while generating even greater profits for the psychotropic drug / mental health industry.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
Tel: 212-595-8974



Chldren’s Mental Health task force hearings continue through Friday Wednesday, July 21, 2004
– by Rhonda Robinson, Central Illinois correspondent

As public forums continue this week throughout the state, more concerns are emerging as parents learn of a new mental health screening plan for Illinois’ children ages zero through 18 and pregnant women.

“Children’s Mental Health: An Urgent Priority for Illinois,” the 53 page report in which The Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 is based upon details a vast new bureaucracy which stresses intervention and treatment for all Illinois children from the womb and continues throughout adolescence, at age 18.

Sighting early intervention as key to academic success and crime prevention, this new law, if enacted according to current recommendations, would also require all pregnant women to be screened prior to delivery for depression and periodically for the first six months after she gives birth.

“This is a major piece of legislation,” Mike Burke, Ounce of Prevention’s director of communications told IllinoisLeader.com. “We know that behavior is shaped in the early years, and that emotional well being is affected by complications with birth. This act forces Illinois to recognize the importance of children’s emotional well being.”

The Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 requires the development of a state Children’s Mental Health Plan and creates a special Children’s Mental Health Fund in the State Treasury.

Screenings, testing, and treatments are to be offered in homes, pre-schools, daycare, and throughout the public school system. A child over the age of 12 will be provided two mental health sessions without parental consent.

This Act creates a “Children’s Mental Health Partnership” that reports directly to the Governor. It requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop and implement a plan that incorporates social and emotional standards as part of the mandated Illinois Learning Standards, due on the Governors desk by December 31, 2004.

All Illinois School districts are required to develop a policy incorporating emotional and social development into the district’s educational program. This policy is to be submitted to the ISBE by August 31,2004.

The report states the policy the schools adopt should address “teaching and assessing social and emotional skills and protocols for responding to children with mental health problems that impact learning ability.”

It also says that the program will monitor school systems’ collecting and reporting of information about student progress on social and emotional development and the social climate of a school, and increase the number of school-based health centers equipped to provide mental health services.

Funding to implement these policies are not outlined fully in the report.

The report acknowledges that mental health in Illinois is severely under funded, and children’s mental health can “hardly be called a system” and yet, this massive creation of a new bureaucracy which expands it’s reach to pregnant women, infants and eighteen year olds, in it’s current form, is laden with unfunded mandates for the school system and a host of other agency currently offering services to Illinois children.

The Department of Human Services estimates this act will expand the population within the system an increase of 5,000 new clients costing an estimated $10 million.

Public hearings will be in Rockford on Thursday and Chicago on Friday.

C 2004 IllinoisLeader.com — all rights reserved


Task force outlines mental health plan for Illinois children
Published Online July 22, 2004

CHAMPAIGN – Barbara Shaw and fellow members of the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership embarked on a five-city Illinois tour this week, promoting the task force’s preliminary mental health plan for Illinois children. Shaw, chair of the group, hosted the forum and answered an array of questions and concerns from children, teachers, parents and health officials throughout Champaign and neighboring counties, during the three-hour public meeting, held Monday at the Illinois Terminal. On the group’s schedule after the Champaign visit Wednesday were stops in Mount Vernon, Edwardsville, Rockford and Chicago. The goal is to build a coordinated system of prevention, early intervention and treatment for children and their families through schools, communities and health care agencies. The plan is built on a May 2003 report by the Children’s Mental Health Task Force that called children’s mental health an “urgent priority.” It found that a significant number of children suffer from depression and other problems that “affect their ability to learn and their propensity for violence, alcohol and substance abuse and other delinquent behaviors.”

With the preliminary plan scheduled to be submitted to Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Sept. 30, the task force scheduled public meetings throughout the state this week, to receive guidance and feedback. Of the 150 people in attendance at the Champaign meeting, many embraced the report but held lower expectations of future results.

“There was energy and enthusiasm at a level that I had never witnessed before,” said Mike McClellan, a Champaign County Mental Health Board member. “They’re using preliminary for a reason, but I’m excited by its prospects.”

McClellan said the diversity in race and age of the participants will benefit the partnership and its development of the plan. While the partnership has recommended that mental health services be delivered in “natural settings,” such as schools, churches, or boys and girls clubs, some health officials expressed the need to further incorporate families into the plan.

“There are no children more vulnerable than children with parents not by their side,” said Linda Abernathy, Director of Family Conference at the Proven Behavioral Health.

Shaw said that because there is a stigma toward mental health, a “natural setting” would ease the tension. Shaw said the task force discussed implementing a voluntary mental health screening for children at the same time when children must receive their physical exams for school. Abernathy was optimistic about the preliminary plan but said the partnership must continue to “think outside the box.”

“Many African-Americans are nontrusting of the system because of what we have seen in terms of justice for families in the system,” Abernathy said.

Gladys Hunt, UI outreach coordinator, shared a similar view. Hunt expressed concern over confidentiality with teen mothers. She said a teen mother may be hesitant to discuss problems out of fear of losing custody of a child. Jim Rich, superintendent of Illinois Central Schools in Mason County, said he believes the plan has very high goals that, with motivation, can be reached. “We should expect to see a lot of success if we can address mental health at an early age,” Rich said. He said funding for the program was his greatest concern.

The task force is uncertain how much the plan will cost. Hunt said she was concerned about how to implement a plan without adequate funding when already tight school budgets must meet other state and federal demands with a lack of adequate funding – such as the No Child Left Behind Act.

Elizabeth Cameron, a parent who attended the meeting, expressed some skepticism about the preliminary plan after the public hearing. “What right does the state have to decide what’s right for my child and what’s right for yours?” Cameron asked. “Benevolent programs, done with the best of intentions, are the road to tyranny.”

Shaw said the public forum was what the task force imagined and wanted. “We heard very different points of view with thoughtful input,” Shaw said. “The greatest thing I took out of this today was a reminder to think outside of the box. We don’t have to think in traditional ways.”

You can reach Nicholas Shields at (217) 351-5211

C 2004 Illinois Leader.com — all rights reserved

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