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How facilities meant to help kids with mood disorders are falling short in North Carolina

This is the first in a three-part series investigating North Carolina’s psychiatric residential treatment facilities where children with complex behavioral needs are sent for care.

When children with severe mood or behavior disorders require intense therapeutic care, they can end up in one of the state’s two dozen psychiatric residential treatment facilities. Operators of these facilities, commonly known as PRTFs, say they stabilize children and provide trauma-informed care that lets them return to their communities on a track toward healing.

But a review of hundreds of inspection reports, as well as interviews with families and experts familiar with the inner workings of these facilities, tells a dramatically different story.

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