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Child Safety Task Force show youth crisis intervention services lacking in the county in annual report

New Hanover County

At Monday night’s New Hanover County Commissioners meeting, Judge J. Corpening presented the child safety annual report, identifying some emerging areas of concern.

The state-mandated Child Safety Task Force is made up of community members, working under the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The Task Force gives annual reports to county leaders.

Related: Community Child Protection Team says there's room for improvement in New Hanover County child welfare

Judge J. Corpening began his presentation with some of the county's accomplishments, including extensive education and outreach on the issue of 'safe sleep' for infants.

However, gaps in services continue to exist, he said, like the lack of facilities specifically geared toward youth crisis intervention.

“Do you know how hard it is to connect a child with an eating disorder to care? It’s a monstrous undertaking. And that’s even with the government trying to help, for families out there doing it on their own, it’s a monstrous undertaking," Corpening said.

Corpening asked commissioners to advocate for change, and to push a local crisis facility specifically for youth assessment and stabilization.

“Several years ago, the involuntary commitment law had to change because kids were staying in our hospital emergency department, handcuffed to a bed, who needed inpatient psychiatric treatment… because there was no placement available," he said.

Corpening closed by calling on commissioners to remember their commitment to ensuring the safety and health of all children residing in the county.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY and graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Her story focus revolves her deep care for children, young adults and mental health. You can reach her at cmojica@whqr.org.