Lawmakers react to Medicaid cutting program that helps at risk youth

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - We were the first to report earlier this week on Wake Up Cleveland about a decision the state of Ohio made that could impact hundreds of families.

Medicaid cuts could no longer support programs that would work to keep at risk children from being institutionalized.

Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections provides services for 500 youths in Northeast Ohio on any given day, the average cost is $1600 per day each month for one child.

"We're talking about 2 million dollars out of the billions and billions of dollars that are spent in state spending each year," said Senator Joe Schiavoni.

Senator Schiavoni says he became infuriated when he found out that State Officials decided to cut medicaid support for the program PEP Connections.

"When you have a program that works and there's results especially with young people that are in desperate needs of this type of service - Just make it work and just figure it out," said Sen. Schiavoni.

Especially if the well being of children like 12-year-old Myron is on the line. You can't tell from the picture alone, but Myron was once suicidal.

"He was more like in a rage - Trying to find ways to release his anger," said Myron's Mother, Tanya Ramey.

Ramey says thanks to social workers and countless time spent with PEP Connections, he was able to avoid being placed in a psychiatric hospital.

"He's doing perfect. I couldn't ask for much more greater," said Ramey.

But other children like Myron could soon go untreated.

"Without this intervention at an early age, we're talking about young people that'll probably be institutionalized," said Sen. Schiavoni.

Senator Shiavoni says people who have been fighting to keep the program alive shouldn't throw in the towel just yet.

"Well there's still time to right the ship here. I think they said today that we have to get this done by June or July 1st," said Sen. Schiavoni.

"We've made the call to some different governmental agencies today to figure out how we can be helpful and how we can be creative in order to continue this program"

Ramey's not only concerned with the future of her son, but others in his shoes as well.

"If you stop these services and this child is back at square one with trying to find out who can I trust, who can I open up to because now these programs are shut down," said Ramey.

If state officials aren't able to reverse the decision, Medicaid will officially stop supporting the PEPS Connection program this upcoming Summer.

The program provides services for 500 youths in Northeast Ohio on any given day, the average cost  is 1600 dollars per day each month for one child.

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