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US attorney blasts planned child mental health facility

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A proposed child psychiatric treatment facility in Logan County is advancing with a disturbing lack of transparency and would have “disastrous implications” if it is completed, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia recently told Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld urged the state to reconsider its approval of a planned 70-bed residential facility for children between the ages of 4 and 21.

“I cannot overstate the disastrous implications for children with behavioral health issues in the Northern District of West Virginia, should the Dazzy Vance Mountain Retreat become operational,” Ihlenfeld wrote to Secretary Karen Bowling, of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, in a letter dated Oct. 13.

In June, the U.S. Department of Justice faulted West Virginia for too often placing children with mental health needs in institutions, like the proposed Dazzy Vance facility, rather than offering community-based support services that let them stay in their homes.

The Justice Department said West Virginia is violating those children’s civil rights

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