Heads up with our homeschooled families’ perfectly unique and mentally healthy brains intact, even with the push for ‘experts’ to poke around to determine whether they approve or not.
I’ve been following the increasing states-wide and federal convergence of social/emotional goals with the use of questionable surveys such as TeenScreen. In Indiana, without parental consent or knowledge, the results of the survey ended with 2 diagnoses of a 15 year old girl (and a federal lawsuit) that should get your attention. Missouri has legislation introduced by Senator Days to have children “ready to learn”. “Ready for school” takes on a new meaning when it revolves around newborns on up.
And what does it mean to a homeschooling family? Here’s a thought from NHELD:
Bulletin #37. Mental Health Assessment.
How does it affect homeschoolers? If first born and parents are screened, who is to say that the government funded mental health care provider will not determine that the parent is mentally unstable or deficient such that the parent is not competent to homeschool, or that such a parent must comply with government directives in order to homeschool? It is not a stretch to think that this is possible, because some state government regulations already prevent foster parents from homeschooling their children..
Illinois screens all children for mental health now who are in the ‘system’ . P.12 of ICMHP 2006 Annual Report-DCFS conducts a mental health screen of all children entering the child welfare system.
Illinois tells some foster parents that not only can they not homeschool the child(ren), but they must be enrolled in pre-school. Whatever happened to the compulsory attendance age of 7 years, one has to wonder?
New Jersey law now requires “health care professionals providing postnatal care to screen new mothers for postpartum depression“.
From HEM’s Larry and Susan Kaseman are Additional Reasons for Homeschoolers to Be Concerned
People who are considered to be marginal or “different” are particularly vulnerable in a program such as mental health screening. Professionals are eager to force them into conventional institutions such as public schools
Mental health screening provides a legally sanctioned way for professionals to interfere with or stop homeschooling. This is especially true because some children have, quite understandably, reacted to difficulties in school (such as problems with teachers, bullying, and labeling) by becoming anxious or developing other behaviors that are listed in the DSM-IV. Many parents have found that simply removing their children from school and homeschooling them has solved the problem and was far superior to labeling the children “mentally ill” and treating them with drugs. Mental health screening of both children and parents could be required when complaints are filed against homeschoolers, including allegations of child abuse and neglect. (All states have laws against physical, mental, and emotional abuse and neglect. Some also have laws against educational abuse and neglect.) Mental health screening would make it more difficult to resolve such complaints.
In the MO piece of legislative documentation, the phrase is “school readiness” “for responding to children with social, emotional, or mental health problems, or a combination of such problems, that impact early learning”.And I see that in 2006, a new Missouri Office of Comprehensive Child Mental Health was established to lay the groundwork of what is firmly embedded in Illinois and other states, as well. In my (and others’) research, there have been noted tie-ins with ‘mental health screening’ and the Universal Preschool/Preschool for All push that the governors of our great states seem to have as their constant talking points. (Please visit the Universal Preschool site, founded by homeschooler, Diane Flynn Keith to learn more. Join her great discussion group that was started to fend off the Universal Preschool agenda in California, and other states.) This push for governmental oversight for all can be explained in many ways by ‘where’s the money’.
Federal grants for universal mental health screening programs are driving state policy all over the country. State legislatures are snapping up federal dollars for state universal mental health screening programs, frequently leaving elected legislators in the dark about what they are voting for. In both Illinois and Indiana, for example, the programs were well on their way to being implemented before the public or legislators knew about them. (See ” Myths and Facts Regarding Mental Health Screening Programs“.)
It would and should make you pay attention when the Nat’l Conference of State Legislatures has a Brief called Investing in Better Care for Infants and Toddlers: The Next Frontier for School Readiness.
The next frontier; even while I thought straying away from public schools was the new frontier. Makes you think about what the “next frontier” means to a legislator or bureaucrat as opposed to an independent homeschooler.
I’m sure the meal was delicious, but I would have lost my appetite as one NCSL Conference involved a luncheon/seminar on Financing Comprehensive Children’s Mental Health Programs. The advice was passed along by a fellow named Knute Rotto, the CEO of Choices, Inc. He had some experience with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which was formed from the philanthropic diversification of a Fortune 500 company, Johnson and Johnson. J & J has run into some trouble and roadblocks leading the way along the TMAP. So what do you get when you cross an elephant and a donkey? $17,865,648 contributed to the 2006 campaigns from pharmaceutical companies.
See what’s what in your state regarding the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health State Implementation Activities.
From the Ounce of Prevention Fund Newsletter, here’s what they are excited’ about:
Ounce of Prevention Federal Legislation Update
The U.S. Congress is scheduled to return to work this week, following the mid-term elections. While the dramatic shift of power in Congress officially occurs with the swearing-in of the new 110th Congress in January, it is unclear what effect the elections will have on the lame duck session of the 109th Congress. Specifically, this Congress has yet to take action on an appropriations bill for the FY07 budget, which began on October 1. Programs have been granted continuing resolutions, which allow them to continue to function. Child advocates have been very concerned about the federal budget, as congressional leaders have publicly stated that program funding cuts are possible.
There have been a number of exciting federal bills introduced on early childhood health and well-being. Because some of the bills enjoy bi-partisan support, it is possible they will survive through the full process. Even if some of these bills do not make it through the full process, become enacted and provide funding, it is exciting to see these kinds of issues being raised at the federal level. If these bills are not enacted by the 109th Congress, they can be re-introduced in the new Congress.
Home Visitation Programs: The Education Begins at Home Act (S.503 / H.R. 3628) provides funding to states for quality early childhood home visitation programs such as Parents as Teachers and Early Head Start, among others. The Senate version, with Republican leadership and bi-partisan co-sponsors (including Senator Dick Durbin), has been referred to committee for consideration. Efforts in the House are being led by a bi-partisan group including Representatives Danny Davis (D-Chicago), Rahm Emmanuel (D-Chicago), and Ray LaHood (R-Peoria). For more information visit: http://www.fightcrime.org/ebah.php.
Children’s Mental Health : The Children and Adolescent Mental Health Resiliency Act of 2006 (S.3449), led by Democratic Senators Durbin and Dodd (CT), seeks to improve the quality and availability of mental health services for children and adolescents by encouraging states to develop comprehensive mental health plans, develop new programs and utilize early intervention and prevention services. The bill is designed to help address the difficulties in child mental health services identified by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and the U.S. Surgeon General. The bill has been sent to committee for consideration. There is no House version of the legislation at this time.
Perinatal Depression : The Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Post Partum Depression (MOTHERS) Act (S.3529) is designed to ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services. The bill also seeks to increase research on postpartum depression at the National Institutes of Health. The bill has been sent to committee for consideration. There is no House version of the legislation at this time.
Early childhood advocates are encouraged to contact their members of Congress and express their support for these bills. More information can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/, or with the national advocacy organizations listed.
As ‘early childhood advocates’, please contact your members of Congress about these bills and similiar bills that might be in your state. That phrase may be used in a different sense than bureaucrats such as the Ounce of Prevention employees mean. And that would be the response that the primary experts of their very own children would be parents. They do a ‘mental health check’ on their families every day.
Posted by Susan Ryan