I suppose there will be any number of similar stories coming in the months and years ahead, but this one struck a nerve. You see, from 3 years old until I joined the Marine Corps at 17, I lived almost exclusively in foster homes. Cycling through the system, you run into an awful lot of troubled kids. Some of them more so than others, but in the end, they are all kids. And some of them are sick - very sick.
You see, it's extraordinarily difficult providing care to an extremely autistic child. Or an obsessive-compulsive. Or Asperger's. A lot of these kids end up "in the system".
Yesterday a close friend told me (through tears) that Governor Tim Kaine, as a cost-cutting measure, is closing the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents. 200 jobs - nurses, doctors, social workers and staff - will be eliminated.
The CCCA was one of the only in-patient psychiatric hospitals in Virginia. It served practically the entire state. It was a way-station for these kids. They'd stay there for a while, receive a diagnosis and treatment plan, and move on to the next stage - either back home with their family or to a facility or home equipped to take care of them.
Nobody really knows what is going to happen to them now. The staff is scrambling to find a place for existing patients. Of course, they are also probably scrambling to find a job for themselves.
The CCCA affiliated with the University of Virginia's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program. To be certified as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, a rotation through an in-patient setting is required. The country - especially with its sky-rocketing rates of autism - is suffering through a huge shortage of C&A Psychiatrists. Without this hospital, UVa may have to end its C&A Fellowship Program. The fellows-in-training stand to be left adrift.
Governor Kaine, I'm convinced, chose to close this hospital because kids don't vote. Republicans will stand in the way of any tax increases, so there will simply not be any opportunity to close the budget gap the sane way.
Drive through Northern Virginia sometime. You'll see the posh corporate offices of Lockheed Martin, SAIC, CACI and scores of other war profiteers that have made billions of dollars in the last 8 years. These are the people whose taxes we simply cannot contemplate raising.
So yeah, shit really does roll downhill in bad economic times. Today it's sick children; I'm quite certain that tomorrow it will be food stamp recipients or folks that need help paying to heat their homes.
But it will never be the CEOs, war-profiteers or crooks that looted Wall Street.
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