Right to Prompt Treatment for Children with Mental Health Needs

Alexander A. v. Novello (Stone),
99 Civ. 8418 (DGT) (E.D.N.Y.)

Nature of Claims: Children with serious mental health needs, whom the State had certified as eligible for Residential Treatment Facility placements, sued the NY State Office of Mental Health for failure to provide them with RTF placements or equivalent mental health care with reasonable promptness, in violation of federal Medicaid and disability laws.

Current Status: This action was settled by Stipulation and Order, approved by the Court on June 1, 2005. The court’s Order certified a statewide class of children, and requires among other things an offer of RTF placement within 90 days of certification in most instances. The settlement Order went into effect September 1, 2005. Legal Aid is monitoring and enforcing compliance via documents and a client/family hotline. Each child certified RTF-eligible receives a notice of rights under the Order, including counsel’s contact information.

No. of Persons Affected: Hundreds of children with serious emotional disturbance are certified eligible each year for RTF services and spend time on wait lists.

Reported decisions: Alexander A. v. Novello, 210 F.R.D. 27 (E.D.N.Y. 2002)