But the state's Medicaid administrator refused to authorize the treatment.
Hawkins never went.
That denial shows how hard it can be to get children mental health treatment through the state's Medicaid managed-care program, created to contain taxpayer costs.
Some troubled children worsen as they wait for treatment or get less intensive, less expensive treatment than recommended by mental health professionals who evaluate them.
The public would be alarmed if children with physical ailments were treated this way, said Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Vernon Daniels.
Daniels: "Look at this as a cancer that is growing, and you're not administering treatment that could slow the growth or stop the growth. That's what's happening here."
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services pays a for-profit company, Magellan Behavioral Health, to authorize mental health services for more than 25,000 state wards, low-income or disabled children. Some middle-class children become wards to get services their insurance won't cover.
Magellan spokeswoman Tami Schmidt: "Our role is to help people to get access to services, despite that people think in some cases we're a barrier."
Magellan serves as an HMO, deciding which medical services to give patients.
Magellan denied 14 percent of requests for all long-term residential programs in 2007, or 199 months of treatment.
It saved more than $1 million.
A guardian who has dealt with Magellan summarized the balance the company tries to strike: "They are hired to police our tax money, so they're penny pinchers. At the same time, the children who fall through the cracks are not receiving adequate care because Magellan won't pay for it."
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Nebraska system leaves many frustrated in search for mental health treatment