JCCC Trustee Bob Drummond, who broke law in illegal college student expulsions, forced to close two buildings at his taxpayer-funded non-profit, Olathe-based “TLC for Children and Familes”

link: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/08/3255185/steve-rose-budget-cuts-hit-youth.html

Posted on Tue, Nov. 08, 2011 05:49 PM

Budget cuts hit youth programs




Special to The Star


Quietly, without fanfare, the 39-year-old emergency center for Johnson County youth in crisis at TLC closed in September.


In December, the 17-year-old old transitional program for disturbed Johnson County kids from teens up to 18 at TLC will also close.


The elimination of both programs is a result of statewide budget cuts.


“We are trying to reinvent ourselves,” said Bob Drummond, president of TLC, located in Olathe.


In the meantime, Marillac, the other facility in the county that deals with youth in need of acute care, is facing severe cutbacks in its own programs. It, too, is trying to deal with major budget cuts.


Both TLC and Marillac exist for youth with severe psychiatric needs who have been referred to them by the Johnson County Mental Health Center. These are kids who are suicidal, bipolar, major substance abusers or presenting with severe conduct disorders.


The in-patient programs run from 60 to 180 days.


According to Drummond, those troubled kids now will be left at home for parents to deal with, or they may be out on the streets. Some will end up in juvenile detention facilities.


The dilemma for both is that the Johnson County Mental Health Center — the gatekeeper for youth in crisis — is referring far fewer kids to the psychiatric care of TLC and Marillac. The mental health center gets its marching orders from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.


There is a new philosophy at SRS, which oversees all social programs in the state, according to Mark Richards, who heads Marillac in Overland Park.


“There is a belief that kids can be treated outside of our facilities, such as at home,” said Richards.


He said he does not think that approach will be successful for the kids.


Drummond agrees. The current approach, which he said is to place as few kids as possible, will find these youth have nowhere to go for help.


Marillac has seen a 30 percent reduction in the number of youths referred there. Its census is down from a previous norm of 48 to currently 33 kids.


TLC has experienced a severe drop in patient referrals, from 55 in April to only 23 recently


Where did non-referred kids go, and what is happening to those who are no longer being sent to either facility?


“We don’t know where they went,” said Richards.


Neither Drummond nor Richards is bashing the state. They both said they understand the budget constraints the state is under.


All they know is their organizations face serious problems functioning under the new guidelines, and they know non-referred youth, who are now on their own, will also have a serious time functioning.


Parents are now in a crisis of their own. Many will find there is no help for their kids in need of a facility that provides psychiatric care. They will be forced to take on the role of TLC and Marillac.


To reach Steve Rose, send email to srose@kc.rr.com.


Posted on Tue, Nov. 08, 2011 05:49 PM