Talking Points ... with Shonna Riggs

Mental health windfall for local kids who need help


January 04, 2007 at 10:54 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

An innovative new program will help parents figure out what sorts of mental-health services are available for their children, which is going to help kids and their families lead happier and more productive lives.

The Department of Health and Hospitals  announced that Louisiana has been selected as a “pilot state” for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Family Network program. Louisiana is one of three states to receive this program that will help families receive the most effective and appropriate mental health services for their children.

“Today, we know far more about the most effective treatments for many early onset mental illnesses.

“Yet, these interventions often fail to reach those children and families who need them most. The failure to use effective treatment interventions outside of academic and research centers has widened the gap between what we know works and what is done in clinical practice,” said Jennifer Jantz, the alliance’s executive director.

The alliance’s Child and Adolescent Action Center is developing this network to promote evidence-based practices in children’s mental health.

She added that the Family Network’s goal is to empower family leaders to advocate for change.

“We will focus on family education, advocacy and action to close the gap between science and services in children’s mental health by mobilizing families into an effective, grassroots initiative for change,” Jantz said.
Anyone who is interested in being a part of the Family Network should call toll-free 1-866-851-6264.

Let’s talk insurance

Insurance cancellations could affect some St. Charles Parish residents beginning, well, soon.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco implemented her famous “Rule 23”  following Hurricane Katrina preventing insurance companies from cancelling policies for customers immediately following the natural disaster.

The rule expires this year and homeowners could face policy cancellations under certain conditions.

Jim Donelon, insurance commissioner for the State of
Louisiana, says getting dropped by an insurance company could force residents to get coverage from the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the only company writing policies for these hurricane ravished areas.

You may be at risk for nonrenewal of your insurance policy if your property or dwelling was damaged and unrepaired, unoccupied, or in a sparsely populated neighborhood.
Homeowners who have been with their insurer for more than three years will face cancellation or non renewal only if an inspection determines a material change in risk and they have been properly notified by March 1, 2007.

The state estimates that more than 200,000 homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and about 124,000 homes were severely damaged - and all of these homes are at risk for policy cancelllations.

If your insurance company files bankruptcy, you’re in a jam, too.

Donelon says companies must physically inspect properties and cannot just cancel without inspecing first.
Donelon says this should slow the rate of policy cancellations.

Allstate Insurance Company began sending out letters notifying residents about their insurance policies cancellations.

Louisiana does have a special consumer protection statute still in place that offers numerous protections for people with homeowner’s insurance.





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