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***NEVADA creates court system for young autistic offenders

Dec 18, 2018, Nevada Current: Court for autistic youth reflects gap in health care services In April, the Detention Alternatives for Autistic Youth (DAAY) Court was created to help autistic children and young adults access services and treatment. Since its inception 25 cases have passed through the court. The court is meant to bypass months-long waitlists and immediately direct children diagnosed with autism to treatments, services, and individualized attention that are essential to preventing repeat offenses. But the court is also a reflection of a system that has failed to intervene much earlier in the lives of young autistic people, when such intervention can make all the difference in behavior patterns as children get older. Clark County District Court Judge William Voy, who runs the court’s Family Division, which includes the DAAY Court, said once a child lands in court it often takes up to six months or longer to connect them to service providers that offer effective therapies. “What happens is that if a kid is not getting the proper therapeutic intervention they are just going to keep getting arrested and brought back to us anyway,” said Voy. “If a kid gets treatment at 3 or 4 they’re going to do far better than a kid who finally got that level of treatment at age 18.” … “It just really a physical representation of the school-to-prison pipeline because for children with autism who don’t get these services — the natural side effect of that is aggression,” said Bailey Bortolin, a policy director for Nevada Coalition of Legal Service Providers, who works on behalf of autistic children in the legal system. “It’s very common for an autistic child to bite someone because they’re not learning through services how to correctly express themselves.”… Nevada expected to spend about $42 million of its Medicaid budget for autism treatments between 2015 and 2017 to fund Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to get 1,879 autistic children in treatment. That number was based on an assumption that 30 percent of the 6,000 children reported by the state Board of Education as having an autism diagnosis would be eligible for Medicaid. That 6,000 has since grown to 8,500. Currently, only about 290 children in the state are receiving ABA services through Medicaid. These numbers indicate a 36 percent increase in access to care since June 2017, but falls far short of the budgeted caseload of 1,879. Additionally, only some $1 million of the appropriated $42 million was spent by Medicaid through March 2017. … “What we are trying to avoid is having adult offenders on the spectrum because there are no services in the adult court,” said Bailey. “We actually don’t even know how many people in the adult criminal justice system are on the spectrum, because no one ever takes data on that.”


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