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Central VA Lacks Inpatient Care for Children in Mental Crisis - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central VA Lacks Inpatient Care for Children in Mental Crisis

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Children facing extreme mental crisis are forced to leave central Virginia for inpatient beds.

Like state Senator Creigh Deeds, who had a son in need of inpatient crisis care, Claire Kaplan's young family member needed help fast. Kaplan grew frustrated when her family turned to state services for help.

“The issue is that here in Charlottesville there is nothing. If you have a child that has to be TDO’ed or ECO’ed or put into a crisis unit for a few days they will go to Richmond, they go to Staunton, they go Lynchburg, Northern Virginia, Tidewater - no place in central Virginia,” Kaplan said.

“In our community there is not an inpatient treatment facility or a crisis stabilization center for adolescents and youth,” said Lori Wood, director of prevention and trauma at Region Ten crisis services.

According to Region Ten, which helps families in central Virginia, inpatient care is reserved for children who may be a danger to themselves or others.

“If they are at the ER and need acute in patient treatment, UVA does not have that service,” Wood said.

Regardless of whether the child is voluntarily or involuntarily committed, families in Charlottesville have to travel over 45 minutes to get inpatient care.

“You are worried about your child who is struggling and you want to keep them alive and you are driving back and forth hours sometimes every day for the visiting hours,” Kaplan said.

Both Region Ten and Kaplan agree that keeping children close to home is in the best interests of virtually everyone.

“If the child were able to stay in the community in a crisis stabilization type of setting it would be better for the child better for the family and better for the community and result in a cost savings because they get their school community and family support right here in the area where they live,” Wood said.

For most families the distance makes a situation that is already life threatening even harder.

“It doesn't make sense to me that in this town with all of the resources we have here and with all of the mental health there is nothing for adolescents and children,  It is as if they've been forgotten,” Kaplan said.

Region Ten blames a lack of state funding for the gap in care. Providers there say they hope the Deeds family tragedy can spur action to close that gap and bring patient crisis services closer to home.

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