Monday, December 20, 2010
N.J. Lags in Commitment to People with Dual-Diagnosis
MILLSTONE, N.J. — At least twice a week, panicked parents call Donna Icovino for help.
They’ve heard the Millstone mother lived through her share of struggles raising a child who is "dually diagnosed" with a developmental disability and a mental illness, and the violent attacks that often come with it. At 18, her son, Michael, was committed to a state psychiatric hospital against her wishes after hospital emergency room doctors turned him away because they were unable to handle his aggressive behavior.
Icovino was co-chair of a task force of parents and professionals that in 2008 produced a report called "a landmark effort" by state Human Services commissioner Jennifer Velez, who convened the task force. Her department vowed to make the report a blueprint to beef up sorely needed services.
But two years later, some task force members say little has changed.