Gov. cutting $2.4 million from program

From The Republican via CHD
Monday, December 14, 2009
By Dan Ring

Elfie E. Arocho, of Springfield, said her 26-year-old son is turning his life around with help provided by an intensive clinical program in Springfield for the severely mentally ill.

Now, she is concerned that Gov. Deval L. Patrick has announced plans to abolish the program.

“I would be devastated,” said Arocho, 46. “It would be horrible.”

Patrick is cutting the service to save money that will be used to finance the jobs of 84 case managers in the state Department of Mental Health.

The state expects to save $2.4 million on an annual basis by eliminating the so-called Program for Assertive Community Treatment programs in Springfield and Chelsea. The Center for Human Development, a private, nonprofit agency, has run the program in Springfield under a contract with the state since 2002.

Without eliminating the two programs, the 84 case managers would be laid off, according to a spokeswoman for the Patrick administration.

Arocho said she couldn’t find anything that worked until she enrolled her son in the Springfield program about five years ago. Before that, her son would refuse to take medication and was in and out of hospitals, she said. He once grabbed her by the neck and attempted to choke her. She said she was so afraid of him that she couldn’t allow him to come home, forcing him to the streets.

Also see the follow up article:

Families make plea for program

From The Republican via CHD
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Dan Ring

A Springfield mother on Tuesday pleaded with an aide to Gov. Deval L. Patrick to cancel plans to abolish a state program that is helping her daughter recover from severe mental illness.

Patricia A. Dickson said her daughter, Takiyah D. Dickson, 25, was in an out of hospitals and plagued by hallucinations and paranoia until about four years ago when she enrolled in a special program for the severely mentally ill called Program for Assertive Community Treatment.

“For this program to end would be devastation for my family,” Dickson told Andrew M. London, an aide to Patrick.

Dickson and her daughter were in a group of parents, mental health professionals and mentally ill people who traveled to the Statehouse to lobby the Patrick administration to retain the special programs in Chelsea and Springfield.

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