Connecticut has made significant gains to create a system that better identifies and treats children suffering from traumatic stress in the year since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But ensuring children have equal access to mental health services regardless of where they live or their insurance status remains elusive. “The impact of trauma on children is a public health issue. It’s happening all over the state and it’s not just high-profile events such as Sandy Hook,” said Robert Franks, vice president of the Child Health and Development Institute, noting that 25,000 children per year experience significant traumatic events. “Children are exposed to all sorts of trauma in their homes and communities every day.
Arrests in Connecticut schools dropped 13.5 percent from 2008 to 2011, but hundreds of the arrests made in 2011 were for minor policy violations such as throwing erasers, shouting, or leaving class without permission, a new report says. The report by Connecticut Voices for Children – the first comprehensive study of its kind in the state – also found significant racial disparities in arrest rates: Black students were 3.7 times more likely to be arrested than white students, and Hispanic students were 3.2 times more likely. “The overall number of arrests have declined, which is an encouraging trend,” said Sarah Esty, the report’s author and a former policy fellow of Voices for Children. “However, there remains a great deal of work to be done in terms of students being arrested for behaviors that likely could have been handled without police involvement . .
If we’re going to talk about changing our culture post-Newtown, we need to talk about supportive housing. It shouldn’t be that difficult a conversation. Unlike the state’s heated discussions about potential gun legislation, we have consensus that something must be done about Connecticut’s mental health care system – which isn’t really a system at all. While the public’s attention to mental health in the wake of the horrific Newtown school shooting is important, the irony is that we don’t know if the Newtown shooter was mentally ill. What he did was horrific, but, as Kate Mattias, executive director of the National Alliance On Mental Illness-CT, said, “You don’t have to have a mental illness to do something sociopathic.