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J.B., et al. v. Barbour, et al.

Mississippi's mental health system is failing children from low-income households.

The state fails to invest in community-based services and instead pumps the bulk of its resources into ineffective, expensive institutions. Parents are often forced to choose between hospitalizing their children or foregoing mental health services altogether. The SPLC Mississippi Youth Justice Project and other mental health and civil rights advocates sued the state on behalf of thousands of Mississippi children denied access to necessary mental health services in their homes and communities, and children subjected to unnecessary institutionalization.

The federal lawsuit alleges that the state fails children in two fundamental ways. First, the state discriminates against children with mental illness by unlawfully separating them from their families and communities and by forcing them to cycle through psychiatric institutions that fail to provide adequate services. Second, the state ignores the ongoing needs of children with mental illness by failing to provide federally mandated and medically necessary home- and community-based mental health services.