By Michael Martz
The number of children seeking intensive, in-home mental-health services in Virginia more than doubled in June, just before new state requirements took effect to better screen who really needs the help.
The rush for state approval of the services — double the figure for the same month last year and 2½ times the figure for other intensive mental-health services — preceded a new state initiative to better control use of a Medicaid-funded program that has been vulnerable to fraud and misuse.
On July 18, Virginia launched a system under which 40 community services boards independently assess a child’s need for intensive mental-health services in the home, which is the last step before removing them from home for treatment.
Previously, “the safeguards were not in place,” said Margaret Nimmo Crowe, senior policy analyst at Voices for Virginia’s Children.