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Outside Expert Tapped to Oversee State's Children's Mental Health Services


A federal judge announced today that a consultant based in Florida will oversee reforms to children’s mental health services in Illinois.


John O’Brien has 30 years of experience in federal and state reform.


He’ll serve as the court-appointed expert to help Illinois ensure Medicaid-eligible children throughout the state have access to mental health services within their communities.


The move is part of a settlement on a class-action lawsuit initially filed in 2011. The lawsuit alleges Illinois illegally withholds medically necessary services from children with mental illnesses.


Lead attorney Robert Farley, Jr., says in many communities, services just aren’t available.


“There are a lot of obstacles. You’re building a house from the ground up -- and you need to have a good foundation.”


Farley says John O’Brien is well-qualified to oversee these reforms.


Farley says he’ll continue to follow this case to ensure the state doesn’t resist the court-ordered reforms.