DCF Post-Newtown Mental Health Recommendations May Put Children at Risk

September 8th, 2014 | Breaking News

In response to the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), last Friday, unceremoniously unveiled its plan to overhaul the state’s mental health system for children.

The ten-page draft report provides no specific details about the shooting at Sandy Hook and, worse still, provides no substantiating information that the shooter, Adam Lanza, lacked mental health services. This is of interest as the “draft” report – DCF’s recommendations – focuses on “early identification and intervention” of children.

The implication, of course, is that the shooting could have been avoided had Lanza received appropriate mental health services. The problem with using the Sandy Hook Shooting as the impetus for these state-wide mental health changes, is that Lanza did receive mental health services from a very early age.

While the state has refused to release any detailed information about Lanza’s mental health treatment, the investigative record clearly reflects Nancy Lanza’s early, and continuous, efforts to provide to Adam mental health treatment. In fact, Lanza was “treated” at the Yale Child Study Center – which, coincidentally, also took a leading role in drafting these recommendations.

Given the documented problems Nancy Lanza experienced with the Yale Child Study Center, after reporting adverse psychiatric drug reactions Adam was experiencing, Ablechild is concerned about the conflict of interest in having Yale participate in any mental health recommendations.

In fact, Ablechild would argue that it is a conflict of interest for any of the “stakeholders” who may benefit financially from any of the recommendations and would suggest that the complete list of “stakeholders” be made publicly available before any funding is appropriated.

Ablechild also is concerned that DCF strategies include training on infant mental health competencies. Psychiatric diagnosing is completely subjective – not based in science – and, therefore, is dependent on verbal responses, making the psychiatric diagnosing of infants questionable at best.

Because the DCF recommendations revolve around “early identification and intervention” and much of the focus is to train school personnel in the identification of mental illness, Ablechild has put together a list of recommendations that it believes are not only appropriate, but necessary in the face of DCF’s sweeping mental health recommendations.

  • Restore Informed Consent to parents, including the full disclosure about the subjectivity of psychiatric diagnosing and the dangers associated with recommended psychiatric drug “treatments.”
  • Dismantle the Behavioral Health Oversight Committee, which is heavy with vendors appointed by Governor Malloy, and eliminate the “stakeholder” monopoly. There are too many conflicts of interest among those who will profit from the recommended changes.
  • Restore speech, language and educational evaluations as the first and most important behavioral health evaluation on point of entry.
  • Fully fund the 2001 law to track the number of children prescribed psychiatric drugs within the state mental health care system and make it publicly available.
  • Increase and fund access to natural and alternative mental health treatment.
  • Set up investigative committee to track children within state care who are solicited into drug clinical trials.
  • Make public all medical/mental health records of children who died while in state care to insure accountability.
  • Require complete toxicology tests in all suspected suicide deaths of children in state care and make findings publicly available.
  • Make available to all parents of school-age children the ability to “opt-in vs opt-out” of mental health screening.
  • Require DCF staff and all state mental health care professionals be educated in the FDA MedWatch System.

Too much of DCF’s mental health recommendations for the state’s children revolve around increased identification and “treatment,” with no discussion of alternatives to dangerous and potentially deadly side effects of psychiatric drug “treatments.” There is too much at stake to allow these all-encompassing recommendations without some kind of public disclosure of the large numbers who certainly will be affected.

It’s bad enough that the drive for increased mental health services is based on the shooting at Sandy Hook, which, to date, no publicly available information to support the need for the increased services has been provided. But forcing parents to submit their children to mental health screening, without providing all information about the potential dangers is adding insult to injury.

Short of implementing the necessary safeguards that Ablechild recommends, parents and children in Connecticut may be subjected to unnecessary and even harmful mental health services and may border on human rights violations.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Becomes Irrelevant

August 18th, 2014 | Breaking News

What’s the point of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission? According to the recent article in the New Haven Register, Sandy Hook report unlikely to include analysis of gunman, the Commission has spent twenty-months preparing a report that apparently will not specifically address the mental health treatment received by Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza.

While it’s not surprising that the Commission has decided that “our report is not going to be a deconstruction of Adam Lanza,” this announcement is embarrassing. The Commission was set up by Governor Dannel P. Malloy to make recommendations about a host of issues, including mental health care in Connecticut, based on the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Without specifically addressing Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment leading up to the shooting, one can only speculate whether this entire exercise is simply fulfilling a prearranged mental health and gun control agenda.

Ablechild certainly understands the difficulties associated with obtaining Lanza’s mental health records, as our non-profit sued the state for the records and was arbitrarily denied, based on the state’s opinion that we were not stakeholders. Ablechild, of course, would argue that everyone in the state and throughout the country is a “stakeholder.”

But what are the odds that the state would refuse to provide this information to a Commission set up by the Governor for the specific reason of understanding the shooter’s state of mind at the time of the shooting? It defies all reason and, therefore, makes any “recommendations” of the Commission irrelevant.

For that matter, what are the odds that Peter Lanza, father of the shooter, would deny the Commission information about his son’s mental health? After all Lanza opened up to The New Yorker magazine, providing specific information about Adam’s antidepressant use. The Commission admits that it met with Peter Lanza. If not Adam’s mental health, what exactly was discussed? Really, what could Lanza offer other than information about Adam’s mental health?

Moreover, Advisory Commission Chairman, Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, explained that although a request was made, the state’s Child Advocate office apparently failed to deliver information about Lanza’s mental health. Is it possible that the Commission could not lean on the Governor to make this happen? It simply defies logic that a state agency would deny the Governor’s request, unless, of course, the Governor, and the Commission, simply has no interest in getting to the answers that might have contributed to Lanza’s violent behavior.

Commission Chairman, Jackson, says the report would “not be an intellectual exercise.” Is this a joke? Based on the fact that the Commission apparently has no intention of including Lanza’s mental health records, “intellectual” is the last thing this report could be called. A waste of time, energy and resources seems a more appropriate description of the Commission’s efforts.

In fact, there seems little reason to even attach the words Sandy Hook as part of the Commission’s title. It should, at this point, simply be referred to as the Governor’s Gun Conrol and Increased Mental Health Advisory Commission.

Without any discussion of Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment, leading up to the shooting, no one can claim the Commission’s report has any relationship to the murderous actions that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The families of the victims and people of Connecticut should be disgusted. They will pay the bill and bear the brunt of the Commission’s baseless “recommendations.” Ultimately, though, one has to wonder what is the “state secret” surrounding Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment?

 

 

Foster Care in Connecticut Conflicts of Interest

January 22nd, 2014 | Press Releases

Foster Care in Connecticut and Conflicts of Interest

Today the  Connecticut Mirror ran an article that for any eight grader would be confusing. Supposedly, the State Department of Children and Family Services, DCF, isn’t meeting federal standards when it comes to the State’s Foster Care System.

However, beneath the service what the story really appears to be is special interest groups looking for increased funding, specifically mental health funding.

Interestingly, in 2011 Ablechild wrote about the conflicts of interest that permeate the Foster Care system and, again, these same special interests are rearing their ugly heads in search increased mental health funding.

Worse, it appears that these special interest groups are jumping on the Sandy Hook mental health gravy train. As is well known, in the wake of Sandy Hook, the State will be considering increased funding for increased mental health services for the state.

Although the federal monitor believed that “system-level problems persist” in the State’s Foster Care system, Ablechild finds it odd that despite a decrease in the number of children in the state’s Foster Care system, and praise from the Department of Health and Human Services, federal agency that oversees Foster Care, that there is now a huge push for increased funding.

Regardless of what strides have been made in the State’s Foster Care system, it appears that the vast majority of funds that may be appropriated most certainly will be for additional mental health services.

Ablechild agrees with Raymond Mancuso, the federal court monitor, when he said “the problem has intensified.”  But deferring to special interest groups with conflict of interest issues, and throwing money into increased mental health funding won’t address any of the stated problems within the system.

 

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

January 18th, 2014 | Breaking News

The Fight for Lanza’s Mental Health Records Gets Crazier

Today’s Hartford Courant reported two important pieces of information. First, Peter Lanza, apparently is willing “to turn over at least some of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s treatment records.” And, secondly, the Courant apparently interviewed Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, Chairman of the Yale Child Study Center.

While Ablechild earlier applauded Peter Lanza for his willingness to provide the all important information about his son’s mental health treatment, to learn now that only “some” of the records will be made available seems an enormous waste of time. Seriously, what good to anyone is a partial record of Adam Lanza’s mental health treatment?

In fact, the State Police Report of the shooting incident also provided only partial records of Lanza’s mental health treatment and now the Commission set up by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, to make recommendations about possible changes to the State’s mental health system, still is going to be left with partial information.

Recall that the State Police Report only provided spotty information about Lanza’s mental health treatment up to the age of 15, leaving out Lanza’s 2005 admission to the Danbury Hospital.  Five years, from age 15 to twenty, are missing. What happened to those records? Why didn’t investigators think those records would be important?

The last known treatment for Lanza was from the Yale Child Study Center, and that was not a positive outcome. Nancy Lanza reported to Yale that Adam was experiencing an adverse reaction to the psychiatric drug, Celexa,  prescribed by Yale. Nancy Lanza apparently did not return to the Yale Child Study Center after that incident.

The point of the Commission contacting Peter Lanza was to get a complete picture in order to make informed decisions.  Now to learn that only “some” of the records will be provided leaves more questions than answers.  Is it possible that the Commission can make informed decisions based on partial records? No, of course not. So why the dog and pony show?

Furthermore,  one has to wonder why anyone from the Yale Child Study Center is involved in any part of this discussion.  Given that this outfit apparently provided the last known mental health treatment to Lanza, doesn’t this seem like a conflict of interest?

After all, according to the State Police Report, it was Dr. Robert A. King of the Yale Child Study Center who indicated “that serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) agents such as Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro or Paxil, are useful in reducing these symptoms, sometimes in conjunction with a low dose of an atypical neuroleptic such as Risperidone.”

This is the question. Was Adam Lanza prescribe drugs other Celexa by the Yale Child Study Center. More than that, during the course of Adam’s life, what psychiatric drugs was he prescribed?  What is known is that Adam was treated over many years, by many mental health care practitioners, for his disorders.

Adam’s primary psychiatrist was Dr. Paul Fox, who, in 2012, surrendered his license to practice in Connecticut and New York, destroyed his records and moved to New Zealand.  Clearly, Dr. Fox cannot provide the Commission with any records, which then puts greater burden on Peter Lanza.  Why?

The State Police Report lists medical records for Adam, which were taken from the Lanza home immediately after the shooting incident.  Is it possible that Nancy Lanza had in her possession no records for Adam’s mental health treatment for the last five years of his life?  Common sense says no.

Where are these records, and  why hasn’t the Commission contacted the State Police requesting all the records that were taken from the Lanza home?  One would think that Governor Malloy, if he’s serious about instituting new mental health regulations, would have some pull in this request.

With every new article written about the Commission’s efforts to obtain Adam Lanza’s mental health records, the story gets crazier. The Commission must be able to review all of Lanza’s mental health records or what’s the point?  It still is only a partial picture. Making recommendations based on “some” of Lanza’s mental health records isn’t serving the State.

 

 

 

Ablechild Releases FOI Post Hearing Documents

September 13th, 2013 | Breaking News

Both the State of Connecticut and Ablechild have submitted final documents in post hearing briefs as requested by the FOI Commission. See links below.

2013-9-12 – AbleChild Post-Hearing Brief

STATESLASTSUB

Ablechild’s mission is Informed Consent.   Our goal is to ensure that every parent, caregiver, and decision maker has all the information before placing their children or child onto mind-altering drugs, and to ensure they are told as part of the “reality” of informed consent that psychiatric disorders are subjective in nature – a fact the State of Connecticut seems to want to ignore and seems filled with shame to disclose.

The famous, renowned medical doctor and former Ablechild board member put it best into words.

Dr. William Glasser,  “Clearly to diagnose a mental illness such as those described in the DSM-IV, one of the basic tenets of the medical model is completely ignored. In those instances, mental illness is diagnosed from symptoms alone and no supportive pathology is required. This misuse of the medical model has led to the present ever-increasing assortment of diagnoses and treatments, none of which even comes close to meeting the requirements of medical science.”

Reference: Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue, A New leadership role for the helping and teaching professions, William Glasser, M.D. 

Immediately after the Newtown, Sandy Hook mass murder/suicide, Ablechild was contacted not only by parents within Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut but throughout the Country urging us to obtain valuable information to ensure that this type of senseless loss of life never happens again.

Seeing beautiful young babies snubbed out, we committed ourselves to that task.  The post hearing briefs linked within are historical and will forever be within the records of history.  We dedicate our efforts to all parents and children.  We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts.

Sincerely,
Ablechild.org

 

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