Welfare Watch - January 22, 2009 - Georgia Mental Health Audit

Georgia in response to a request by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees completed an audit of Georgia Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program.  Below are selected readings from this audit.

"We found that DHR lacks a systematic process for determining the most critical needs for the child and adolescent populations.  While the agency does undertake activities that would help identify needs, neither the process nor the results are documented." " The Lack of a transparent process exists despite legislation requiring DHR to report such information to the the General Assembly on a biennial basis." 

"In response to our question and based o the list of priorities included in agency documents, CAMH officials did identify the top five priorities that are intended to address child and adolescent needs:

  1. providing core and specialty services statewide,
  2. developing systems of care,
  3. providing crisis services,
  4. serving youth in the welfare system,
  5. and increasing family-oriented treatment practices." 

Two of these priorities had not identified performance measures for their related activities.  CAMH met its own goals for two of the other three priorities.  We found that CAMH served approximately 10,000 uninsured children and adolescents in fiscal year 2008 and that about 6,000 uninsured youth estimated to be in need were not served by CAMH.  The service penetration rate for the state was 65% but varied considerably across counties."

"Regarding CAMH spending, we found that the Program's reported expenditures (and therefore, the fund balances) are not indicative of all DHR funds spent on mental health care for the child and adolescent population."  

The complete reading of this important document is a must. 

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Normer Adams, Editor