Roanoke, VA: "Rising demand for specialized supports" a cost of $7.2M

Dec 19, 2017, Roanoke (VA) Times: Roanoke County turning attention to expanding demand for services for at-risk youth Roanoke County is working to get its hands around a rapidly growing program for high-needs children whose costs have shot up by 40 percent within the past five years. The rising demand for the specialized supports offered by the Children’s Services Act has become a statewide conundrum. … The Children’s Services Act is a state and local program designed to serve at-risk youth — a population that includes children with special education disabilities, mental health needs, behavioral issues, court involvement or other challenges. … Within county schools, officials have been steadily working to beef up their special education staffing and are aiming to develop more approaches to supporting students with conditions like autism — one of the fastest-growing populations both locally and statewide. … The program has become increasingly reliant on its reserve fund to offset its steadily rising costs. Last year, Roanoke County’s CSA program served 237 children — up from 180 five years earlier — at a cost of $7.2 million.