American Morning

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March 9th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Saving Carlos: The face of California's crisis

Editor’s Note: Yesterday on American Morning, we introduced you to Carlos. He's 8, uninsured, and struggling with ADHD and severe anxiety. Now, deep budget cuts in California could put his future in jeopardy. Is it fair to put a price on something like that? Today, CNN's Thelma Gutierrez takes a look at the debate for original series we're calling "Saving Carlos."

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Carlos’ therapist says taxpayers will pay the price for Carlos either now while he's is in treatment or later on if he doesn't get help."]

By Thelma Gutierrez, CNN

(CNN) – Carlos lives in south Los Angeles. His mother is a homemaker. His father is a street vendor.

Carlos says he wants us to understand his world. Although he is only a 2nd-grader, what struck me most over the month we spent with him is that already he says he wants a new life.

Carlos suffers from ADHD and severe anxiety, made worse by problems at home.

“I draw a picture about my family because they were fighting,” says Carlos. “Sometime when they fight, it's because when my dad drinks.”

Carlos' father didn't want to be on camera, but acknowledged he has had a hard time lately and financial pressures have only made things worse at home.

Carlos' mother, Leticia, wants to keep the family together, but knows they need help. Their son was failing in school and becoming disruptive at home.

The face of California's crisis Video

When Leticia went looking for help, what she found were clinics grossly overburdened. In Los Angeles County alone, $216 million was slashed from its mental health department. Now county clinics are only taking kids who are suicidal or physically violent, not kids like Carlos, whose condition might not be as urgent, but is still just as serious.

It took nearly a year for Leticia to find St. John's Family Center in south L.A., a free clinic that accepted his case.

She told me her kids are everything to her and allowed us to shoot her son's private therapy sessions because she wants to put a face on California's bruising budget crisis.

Now, just as Carlos is starting to make progress, Leticia learned St. John's clinic also had its mental health care budget slashed.

“Just from this one clinic, seven thousand people will not receive mental health services,” says Jim Mangia of St. John's Family Center. “Out of that number, probably four thousand are children.”

This is where kids like Carlos are pulled into a political tug of war.

“I know it sounds mean and there are lots of different groups who'll say we need money. Schools need money, cities need money,” says Mike Spence, CA Republican Assembly. “All those money trees have been cut down in California, so we have to deal with it by reducing spending the best we can.”

“Does this state have a responsibility to care for its children? Do conservatives think we don't have that responsibility?” asks Mangia.

“The government has over-promised to people,” says Spence. “There are a lot of programs for children, mentally ill, the disabled. The problem is government keeps over-spending and over-taxing.”

But it’s a tough trade off.

Carlos’ therapist, Elena Fernandez, says taxpayers will pay the price for Carlos and other youngsters like him, either now while he's is in treatment or later on if he doesn't get help.

Why the taxpayers?

“Why? Because eventually we end up paying for the emergency services, the psychiatric wards, the cost it takes to imprison someone,” she says.

In California, it costs about $45,000 a year to keep someone behind bars. Fernandez worries leaving a generation of kids like Carlos untreated could mean losing them forever. But what about the cost for Carlos, a boy who loves baseball and math?

“In my future, I want to behave good,” Carlos says.

After 6 months, Elena says Carlos is finally ready to graduate. Meanwhile, his mother says the drinking and fighting at home have stopped.

And at Carlos' new school, his teacher told me he has noticed a big difference since Carlos began therapy. He's now thriving in the classroom and on the playground.

The cost of saving Carlos? About $2,000.

Filed under: Education cuts • Saving Carlos
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Jaimon

    I was diagnosed with ADHD and my mother dealt with it. I still struggle with focus, but I can do it. We need fewer pharma-solutions and ... whoa... an 8 year old that needs treatment for... anxiety?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  2. Byron

    The real problem here is the mentality that we should pay for it in the first place. His "homemaker" mother couldn't get a part time job? As the end of the story says, it only cost $2000 to save Carlos. Get a job.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Mariel

    Please, I would like to pay for his therapy. I can't afford all of it, but I would like to make a donation. If anyone knows how to get in contact with this boy's family, or how I might directly donate money for his treatment to his psychiatrist, I would like to do so. Thank you.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Dirk Dirka

    There is no reason for us to be babysitting the children of illegal aliens , this country just gives away its service and money to whoever. How many countries helped us out during the Katrina mess???

    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  5. don

    I feel sympathy for this child and his parents. But if they are illegal, not paying taxes, how can they expect free or state or country paid health service or any service.
    At one side they are tricking the government and not paying taxes, and on the other side they want government to help?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  6. not buying it

    That last sentence is ridiculous. Are you saying that Carlos is "saved' because he can pass second grade math? Try to put that price tag on him whenever he is dropping out of high school after several years of very expensive special education attention. I am a high school teacher and I see how much tax dollars go into paying for teachers to coddle these "at risk' kids and how little the payoff is. If education was a regular business, and we ran the payoff for what we put into kids like this, it would have been bankrupt years ago.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  7. Henry in WV

    Oh Lynne,it must be wonderful to live in such a simple world where everything is black and white-good and evil. The main reason California is suffering budget cuts right now is that it never matched its budgetary needs with revenue to pay for it. Starting in the 1970's with Proposition 13 taxes were either frozen or reduced to bring in more industry to California.Not a bad idea during the 1990's but a horrible idea uder present conditions. We can't go back to 1976 wages but a significant percentage of property taxes are frozen at that level until the property is sold.Then it goes up to meet market values and a property that was taxed at say $1200/year is now taxed at $9500/year.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Lovelance

    Forget Carlos, to save California, you need to show tough love , and deport the whole deadbeat family. So his dad drinks a bit. Well, thats how they role in the third world Thelma. Uneducated peasants have taken over your state and are running California in the ground because their culture does not recognize the need for education or achievement.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  9. The_Mick

    As others noted, it's obvious Carlos' parents – or at least the father – are illegal aliens. So Mexicans like Carlos are taking meds away from the American kids that the American taxpayers are paying for.

    There needs to be a new amendment, in this small-world era, that children born in the USA of illegal immigrants do NOT get American citizenship.

    If every American had a government-issued health card with stick-memory like they do in Taiwan, a lot of this would be cut out.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  10. Karoli

    No, it does not say they are illegal. We made that assumption.
    But why isn't she working outside the home then? My wife and I both worked full time when we were raising our kids. Sometimes I worked 2 jobs. My parents came here legally, got jobs, learned English and wouldn't accept the welfare that they qualified for.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  11. Jose

    Just another reporter that is trying to write a story to get public sympathy for Obama and the democrats' policies. We'll probably see Thelma Guiterrez nominated to the supreme court in the future or named head czar of the Border patrol.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  12. disappointed

    I'm reading all of these comments and I'm Shocked to see how many ignorant people there are in the world. The United States started off as a country full of immigrants, and it continues to be that way. All of these illegal immigrants pay taxes as well, whether they are using their social security number or someone else's (which i don't agree with).

    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  13. Consultofactus

    In the immortal words of Judge Schmales "the world needs ditch diggers too!"

    March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  14. nova

    Kids may have no control over their parents, but if we, US citizens, keep paying and paying,instead of deporting illegal aliens, the Carlos' of CA,and other states will be adults in no time.
    Another generation to support because of inaction.
    Do you not see that this has to halt NOW, not in another 10 years while govt. ponders the problem.
    These reporters sure know how to skirt the fact that they are illegals,and suck our tax dollars. Really, we have to draw a line NOW,and deport MILLIONS of illegals. Yes millions,it's that bad!!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  15. Ed

    He has ADHD and anxiety so he's going to end up in prison? I don't get it.
    Why is he our responsibility? I waited a long time to have children – until I was done with school and could afford to care for them. It's the parents failing this child, not the government.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  16. DCannon

    This child is better off the drugs medications for ADHD and depression that are over used in poor children (this is a big business) What this child needs is good sleep, good nutricious food, a lot of exercise outdoors, family support, love, patience andy a good doctor that understand the metabolic and chemical issues in this child. Therapy helps, but if he is going back to a stressful environment, there is no point.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  17. Rob

    Jack in LA said it all.
    I do not feel sympathy, I feel stronger against health care reform because of families like this.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  18. wowohwow

    Forget about his medical bills. It will cost the state of California roughly 93k to educate this kid through grade 12 – with his parents contributing nothing to taxes. This madness of poor people expecting everybody else to pay for them has got to stop. The state can't afford this!!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  19. Jason

    also- your kids have "ADHD" because you let them suck down sugar filled soda, after sugar filled soda (or sugar filled gatorades and powerades). Then, when they aren't ready for bed at 8pm, you think "Oh no, they've got Hyperactivity Disorder"- no, they're just so jacked up on sugar and caffein that they can't sit still long enough to blink.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  20. AL

    It discouraging that all that is written here has to do with illegal immigration, we are truly a sad society, when all we can see is the hate in our hearts, ask yourself what would Jesus do... BTW all Latinos are not illegal; they were here before the great white man.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  21. Matt

    ADHD and anxiety? That is the most compelling example CNN could come up with?

    (Shaking head)

    March 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  22. Enrique Gutiérrez

    @ Lorna: Not speaking English doesn't mean they can't "educate" well their kids as you say. His kid must be bilingual, even if his parents speak to him always in Spanish or Hawaiian, Tagalog, ...w/e. They learn to speak English at school!

    Where does it say they're parents are illegal? It's ridiculous that you people think they are illegal! It's a mockery! One or the other, you guys maybe can't read right, and just judge on the bias of their skin. What if his parents were white Caucasian. Then you guys wouldn't mind talking.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  23. ed

    funny how this article was rewritten from its first appearance on the site. it now has (1) arguments why the taxpayers should pay for carlos, when at first it did not, (2) synpathetic passages about the family when at first it just said his dad was a drunk who beat his wife, and (3) a more sympathetic fact pattern about the mom "looking for help" when at first it was the school psychologist looking for help while the mom blamed the teachers for not putting up with her disruptive kid. very funny.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  24. Daniel

    Instead of budget cuts that end up hurting kids like Carlos,we would do a lot better to cut both the foreign aid and the military spending,but the Republicans along with the blue dog Democrats won't stand for that.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  25. Lynn

    Whether or not the family are illegals, sounds like most of Carlos' problems stem from the fact that Dad drinks too much and the parents fight! Welcome to the real world Carlos, paying for therapy for your "stress" is causing me stress! It's the parent's responsibility to straighten up their family life for the sake of the child not mine.

    A lot of us grew up with drinking/squabbling parents and turned out to be hard-working citizens, not guests of the California Penal system!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  26. GeoffW

    What is completely absent from the story is what is bringing down ALL public services in the LA area. The percentage of illegal aliens receiving benefits is literally crushing the system. When Democrats blanch at requiring verification of citizenship to receive health benefits, THEY should come meet with Carlos and see the impact that it is having on him. We have small cities in the LA basin that have 60,000 residents and 2,500 registered voters – this means that this community is REALLY lethargic or, obviously more likely, not eligible for registration. Until we talk about this elephant filling the closet, we are unlikely to be able to give those qualified the care they deserve.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  27. R.C

    Why does illegal have anything to do with this everyone here in american is affect whether illegal or not. This is out children and our future. We talk about our trouble teens why not help our future kids now.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  28. AJ

    CNN, Obama is very grateful for you. Just keep spewing out tear-jerker stories as he "rolls up his sleeves" and puts on his tough-guy show, telling us how mean & selfish the insurance companies are. You & Obama make a great team, and you're sure to help him ram-rod his agenda.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  29. Kris

    Where does it say that his family are here illegally? I must have over looked that part. Anyway, Carlos is a child with issues now and can be controlled and taught differently. In a few years, with or without treatment, he will be an adult. I prefer to have Carlos a well adjusted, productive adult, than the subject of a wanted poster. We as a society can pay now or pay later.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  30. Pablo

    I'm sure young Carlos will do just fine when his father stops drinking, his parents stop arguing, and CNN stops writing incredible oxy-moron articles.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  31. Lucas Detroit MI

    it's nothing against carlos but there are worse things than ADHD and Anxiety like severe Schizophrenia and Bipolar Cancer and Aids a lot of homeless US citizens have stuff like that going on in there life and they still can't get help so lets start by giving those people that are experiencing HELL on earth a needed hand

    God Bless

    March 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  32. Jason

    Why wasn't ADD a huge problem in the 50's? 60's? 70's? 80's? 90's? It's not a new "illness" so, why wasn't there a huge push for treatment from 1950-2000? I think it's because parents actually disciplined their kids, taught them things, and felt personally responsible for their behavior. Now, if your kid acts out, or is just generally obnoxious, parents have an excuse: "It's not my fault, he's got ADD". No, you've just got I.P.D. (Irresponsible Parent Disease). Personally, I do not think that ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, actually exists. It's just an excuse for parents to pass the buck onto someone else. If their kid has a mental issue, then he becomes someone else's problem, and the parents get to go back to living a total I.P.D. lifestyle. Sickening. My friend thinks her kid has ADHD because he won't sit still in class. Well, he won't sit still in class because he's never had to be personally responsible for his own actions: "I can't sit still, I've got ADD"- no, you've got "D.C.S." (Disrespectful Child Syndrom) which is heightened by his parents suffering from S.E.F.M.K. disease (Someone Else Fix My Kids disease).
    Responsible Parenting + Accountability = end of ADD.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  33. Ann G.

    Can someone please tell me why this child's parents can't be responsible for his health care? If you can't afford to have children, don't have them; if you accept the right, you accept the responsibility. I'm sick of people whining about what budget cuts will do; it's time people accepted responsibility for their own expenses.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  34. Adam Seidel

    Really? Really?! His ADHD and anxiety? Those are public responsibilities now? ADHD is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY beyond what the government should have a role in helping with, and maybe instead of making excuses and putting the cost on the government, like Carlos's parents should stop fighting in front of the little guy. Maybe his Dad should stop being a terrifying drunk. Maybe this little kid's parents needs to take some freaking responsibility for the son they are raising.

    It isn't like this is a little guy with diabetes that his parents can't pay for expensive treatment for, or even something like Downs Syndrome or mental retardation. He's just a little over-hyper and nervous because his dad is a drunken monster sometimes. If you want my heart to bleed, bring me somebody actually worth crying over...

    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  35. flo b

    it does not matter wether they are illigal immigrants or not .we are all responsible for our own children. people are complaining because the goverment is getting to big .yet everyone has their hand out.i may be sorry for you but that doesnt mean that i have to support you,especially when i am working my butte off trying to support my own family .i am hispanic ,and i have had a job since i was 12 ,in the fields ,babysitting and cleaning houses . i had 4 children and worked two jobs to support them while i went to school.i never had the luxury of being a stay at home mom . and i resent like hell having to pay for other peoples stay at home life.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  36. gene carroll

    Why highlight one of the "gimmee gimmes"? I'd appreciate more a story highlighting the plight of working Americans, instead of constantly trying to divert us away from the fact that illegal aliens are criminals.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Teacher

    How can you look at that child, or his parents and just ASSUME that they are illegal? You can't. There is no evidence they are. That is sad, that we as citizens have those terrible assumptions when it is that child that is hurting.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  38. Lana

    THIS FAMILY IS NOT ILLEGAL! IT WAS NOT THAT HARD TO FIND OUT! What is WRONG with you people, that think a CHILD's "immigration status" means that he should suffer?????

    March 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  39. Kimbiqua

    The family could save a lot of money by drinking water instead of alcohol. Try running instead of drinking. There are better ways to handle your stresses. Get real and be responsible, macho guy.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  40. Margaret

    Ok, is Carlos & his family even here in the US legally or are we spending our tax dollars to give illegals & their kids medical assistance?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  41. highlander97

    I am a U.S. CITIZEN and I am of the belief that our U.S. government has to start enforcing our nation's immigration laws, and our U.S. borders have to be secured at all costs! Our country is over burdened with illegal aliens, and their offspring. Hospitals, Schools, Jails and Prisons are overloaded with illegal aliens ( The U.S. is like a life raft to the world), and the world is abusing this life raft, and it can only hold and sustain but so much load. The anchor babies of the hordes of illegal hispanic aliens are going to bankrupt our nation, unless We The People stand us and say no more illegal aliens, no more free health care, no more sanctuary cities, no more amnesties for those that violate our nation's immigration laws, NO MORE. It is not the children's fault that their parents broke immigration law to come to the U.S., but it is not the United States responsibility to care for them either, nor is it we U.S. Citizens responsibility. I feel for any sick child, but I say WE THE PEOPLE, the Citizens of the U.S. have to look after our own first, Citizens first!!! Report illegal aliens and those that aid and abet them to ICE, or the local Police.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  42. Igor

    ADHD and severe anxiety? Who convinced them of this? Most 8 year olds are hyper and the anxiety is over when will dad slug mom again. And we'll pay the price later on if he doesn't get his freebie attention? GAHHHHHH...enough of this. It's tough all over. People like this need to stop breeding! I DON"T CARE!!! I NEED HELP ALSO!!! If we don't start getting everybody working again there will be nobody left to pay taxes so free loading breeders like this can get their reward. WISE UP!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  43. Mexian AMERICAN

    i don't recall reading in this story that Carlos OR his parents were illegal. you assume that because they are poor, and uninsured and let's not forget Latin that they are illegals. well, take a trip to ANY state down south and you will see plenty of poor, uninsured families, except they will be white and black. at least his father tries to have some sort of income and yes they do pay taxes. EVERYTHING in L.A. has a tax associated with it, whether they are at the market or buying gasoline or products to peddle on the street.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  44. Kimbiqua

    What we spend money on that we don't need is retirement payments. Sorry, but I'm not willing to pay for retired workers any more. I'd rather pay for Carlos' needs. My parents were teachers, so they get retirement, but I can't see how that can work anymore. Nobody is working to pay for my retirement. The perks have to go to support real societal needs. Let the government workers save up like the rest of us. Sorry.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  45. Scott

    CNN, it's a simple question: are these people in the country legally or not?

    March 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  46. Hannah

    Conservatives will just say, you can't take care of everybody. Until it's one of there own. Then they would want all of the government services available. no doubt they get federal grants and scholarships for their kids to reduce the cost of college, even though many can afford it.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  47. Danny

    We cannot afford to take care of our own citizens. I have no problem with anillegal citizens child being denied any kind of state sponsored help. Money does not grow on trees, and this administration seems to forget this. Right now the money tree is in China, and the more we grow our deficit, the more they will continue to own of it. We need to cut government spending in every single area. People need to learn to take care of themselves a little better and not rely on the government. Its not my responsibility as a taxpayer and I will continue to vote against any politician who supports this kind of spending. I am the majority nowadays too, so be warned poloticians

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  48. TCM

    phillip carrol – so the super rich, who worked and made their money, while obviously you didn't....need to pay your and other slacker's way? Give me a break...why don't you move to a socialist country and take all the illegals while you're at it.....the very core that made this country thrive and become great is threatened by the mindset you project; along with Liberals in Washington.

    If California kicked all the illegals out, they'd have a budget surplus.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  49. mark

    I am shocked to read some of these comments. You cold hearted people who are saying Carlos is not your problem or that the family is probably in the US illegally is deplorable. Ken, you are especially mean spirited. Would you want YOUR child "sacrificed" if YOU could not afford mental health care? If you were destitute, would you like collective society to say your son is not OUR problem? Either you do not have children or are an especially spoiled person with no human dignity all. Who cares if they are here illegally? The point of the story and the indisputable facts are that there is a little boy who is sick and needs help. He did not ask to be born into the world this way. It does not matter one bit what country this kid lives in. By the way Ken, I am one of those that "HAVE" and have no problem helping the sick that do not. Shame on all of you. And I speak from experience. I have a 2nd grade son with ADHD. If my wife, myself, and all my monies disappear from this earth, I hope my son does not have to rely on Ken or Tracy.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  50. moby49

    May I remind you of the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, the iconic symbol of our great country. Your suggestions would suggest it is time to tear the grand lady down and put up a Walmart. So no longer talk about liberty, which you proclaim to love, for it will be gone forever.

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    March 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  51. Denise Brown

    My hard-earned tax dollars should NOT be used to provide free health care, education, welfare, etc. to CRIMINALS who entered this country illegally! They are a drain on our society and should be kicked back across the border.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  52. Not my Kid

    Q: "Where does he turn after budget cuts?"
    A: "To his parents"

    And for those who say how heartless I am...well apparently he shouldn't have a problem if your bleeding heart would go pay his bill. So either pony up or shut up.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  53. Jason

    You are all racist and ignorant. There is no reference to them being illegal. just because they are Hispanic should not take away their humanity.

    You are all probably fat, ugly, lazy Americans who work 9-5's; put in sometime; and blindly obeyed your boss who tells you that he is good and the government is bad. You tell yourself you earned something, when in fact it was the government telling business owners that they need to treat their peons with a little respect.

    The change you have in your pocket could pay for health care, but instead you will probably use it to buy a taco from a fast food restaurant who employs illegal immigrants without benefits. You are getting fat off of the blood of others and blaming them for not pulling their own weight. You disgust me. This child should not be left to suffer because you need a new pair of XXXL pants.


    March 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  54. chris

    Homemaker? Maybe Carlos's mother should go pick up beer cans on the side of the road, after all they are worth 5 cents a piece. I wish my wife could be a homemaker. Sadly for us, we are the unfourtunate midddle class that has to work two jobs each to pay our bills and not live off our neighbors back. We are now more then ever a Socialistic society that depends on nothing but hand outs. There are more people receiving some sort of benefit from the state they live in then there ever has been. Who will pay for all that? I am very fed up with people feeling they are owed something simply because they live here! Legal or illegal you need to do something in order to get something....

    March 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  55. tyhouston

    Please stop report this kid.
    ADHD I have ADHD when i was young, you know what I got spanking and told to pay attention in class.

    Anxiety? Live with it kid we all have it and most the country doesn't turn into criminals.

    So there is no "Saving Carlos" Carlos is not in danger or in a life threatening situation. Get back to me when he has Aids or needs a liver transplant till then, it's just ploy to turn California's money problems into a minority whine.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  56. Liberty

    First of all therapy is not efficacious for ADHD. The medications do work but I don't remember any part of the constitution guaranteeing that one part of the population must pay for the medication of another. The parents should never have had Carlos if they are that poor. How is is fair that I should I work weekends and extra hours at night to pay for their kid's treatment? That is not fair to me and in fact the government is looting my money to distribute to their voters (AKA Democrats). Although polictically incorrect the politician that said if you feed the strays they just produce more strays (or nonachievers) was correct. It's just common "horse-sense" that supporting nonachievers that lack the intellect to support their kids just leads to a bigger problem in the long run. The natural consequence of this looting is that most will stop achieving and the poor will be hurt even more as their benefits will dry up. Look around, this socialism consequence is already happening.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  57. AW Sacramento

    This artical plays well on the heart strings, but leaves out a whole lot of information. Like why doesn't the mom work too? How many other kids are there in this family? What is the father doing to find better paying work? Are they here legally? I'm supposed to shell out my hard earned dollars for people who aren't trying to better their situation? I'm supposed to help support able-bodied people who would rather sit with hat in hand expecting the government to provide for them? My wife and I pay over 40% of our income to the state and federal governments. That's just in direct taxes. How much more should we pay? Why is the only answers we ever hear "cut services" and "raise taxes"? When are we going to finally take a look at where all this money goes and how it is actually spent?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  58. Sherri

    People, the fact remains that Carlos is here in this country right now and he needs help. Thankfully, ADHD is not a life-threatening condition. And I would much rather pay to get him the help he needs now than to have to pay to house him in a prison when he becomes an angry, out of control teenager. We don't live in a vacuum people. Things that happen to kids today will affect us all when they grow up.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  59. Walter Litman

    Poor little Carlos is the reason I sold my business and left California.
    Funny, no-one was EVER paying for my ADHD and Anxiety.
    I had to suck it up and deal with it. Yes, even in 2nd grade.
    But at least little Carlos will still have his free breakfast, free lunch, and bi-lingual education. After all, this is California, land of you are racist if you don't like paying for illegal immigrants. Boy am I glad I left. I had no idea how much nicer some places are.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  60. gypsy

    Its about time we started with the budget cuts and keep our money here at home. Im tired of working and supporting the "poor". I am divorced and raised 3 children by myself and never asked anyone for help. I don't understand why it is our responsibility to support the poor. Why is the mother not working? Again what are the priorities? Apparently the fathers drinking is more important than his son's medical needs. I hope we keep cutting the budget. If they are illegal they need to be sent back to the country they came from and enter this country legally. I know in the town I live in there has to be thousands of illegals and they are in line for "free" anything and yet they drive up in their $40,000 cars. At last people are taking notice that they are here for a free handout. They need to stop having kids and thinking because they have kids that they wont be deported. It is not our responsibility to support the world.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  61. Don Wayne

    All I see here are parents of questionable immigration status, who should not have had children they can’t afford to support, who have terrible parenting skills, and then expect other people to shoulder the responsibility for their failures as parents. All that, with the implied threat of “if you don’t give me what I want now, my child will grow up and extort more money from you.” What, am I supposed to be manipulated into feeling by this story? Guilt? Compassion? Sympathy? All that this article has made me feel is anger at the parents. They aren’t even fit to raise a litter of kittens.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  62. Guff

    Supporting the over medication of children is not my's the parent's job.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  63. Juan

    @philip carroll
    It's not the super rich's task to get the state out of debt. It is the state's responsibility to be fiscally responsible.
    Also, increasing or cutting the state budget isn't going to change the fact that Carlos dad is an alcoholic that fights with his wife or that they are unemployed. Increasing taxes to support this system that only enables crappy parenting is just going to eventually drive businesses and the "super rich" to move their money elsewhere.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  64. jim

    How much is his future worth to taxpayers? I guarantee it's not worth as much as it will cost them! He and his parents should be shipped back to wherever they came from as soon as possible. If he was born here, then (sadly) he can stay, but the illegal parents should go!

    March 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  65. Chris

    OK, the cost to "save" carlos is $2,000. There is no reason his mom could not take a weekend job or an evening job or the father a 2nd or 3rd job to earn the $2k to "save" their son.

    if the parents are unwilling, why should I?

    I am happy to assist the helpless but have no intention of paying for the clueless.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  66. Kristen

    There should be no sympathy for this family and others like them. They have 1 income and a roof over their head cause our welfare covers it. I think it is about time those getting free help stop and get a job. In America several families work 2 jobs(mother and father), there is no reason why this mother cannot get a job to help support her family and the father get a better job and stop getting free Medical care. We are in our financial crisis cause of all of the free stuff we give to those who are not legal. Free welfare, free medical care and free food stamps are all provided while they could care less about working. People will not get out of this dependancy until we stop it all! Close the clinics!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  67. Mysty

    The story doesn't say they're illegal, but they sure sound like it. If it only takes $2k to make Carlos better, then perhaps daddy should look for a better paying job, mom should work part-time, and they should stop having kids that they can't afford.

    Both my husband and I work hard (55+ hours a week each) to keep our jobs and we still barely make it. We both decided we just can't afford to have kids, so we have 2 beautiful dogs instead.

    Yea, I have sympathy for Carlos and his family, but they have to live with the choices they made and NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER!!

    March 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  68. Scott H

    And here's the slippery slope of entitlement. Once its implemented, its is darn hard to retract because so many people become dependent upon them. The answer was to limit entitlements in the first place, however, they've become the core focus on one political party in particular..who wants even more.

    And for each entitlement, there's a million "feel bad stories" when logic dictates that you pull them back due to them being unfunded mandates at the end of the day.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  69. gypsy

    If there is money to drink then why is there no money for his sons medical needs? Priorities and obviously that fathers priority is drinking. Why are we responsible for his medical needs?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  70. Howard

    Ahh, time for the full-court press of sob stories, I am surprised Obama did not have this kid at the State of the Union.

    Love the last line of the story, '" the cost to save this child – about $2,000" too bad they forgot to mention, there are thousands of Carlo's in Souther n California alone, and more coming every day.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  71. Ellid

    And the evidence for this family being illegal is what, exactly? If anything, the mere fact that they allowed themselves to be filmed argues the opposite: that they either are citizens, or here via a green card.

    Bigotry is an ugly, ugly thing.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  72. Chris

    You know what, I'm sorry the little boy has issues. Know what, not my problem.

    is this family "legal"? Dad is working, how about Mom getting a job at night while the husband watches the kids?

    Maybe this family needs to learn to take of their family before expecting the taxpayers to do so.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  73. mark

    When writting a story like this, please include links and or contacts on how people can help. I would like to help this boy but there is no information on how to do so and I cannot get a live person on the phone at CNN.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  74. Jeremy

    Dear Carlos,

    I am very sorry, but I have my own problems. I work very hard for 40-60 hours a week so that this life I have–this one and only life I have–can turn out the way I want it to.

    I work very hard so that my wife and I can enjoy our retirement years. I work very hard so that I can travel to visit my family. I work very hard so that I can live comfortably.

    It is not coincidence that my hard work translates into a substantial increase in productive capacity for society as a whole. Any attempt to diminish that capacity through government taxation and government inflation to help pay for the errors your parents made will ultimately hurt even you. Besides, it is MY money that I made by being productive.

    You cannot have it.

    I wish you luck,

    March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  75. Miguel

    It's obvio that Carlos and his family are iilegals. I saw the tv show with them and hte mama speaks only spanish. send them home.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  76. Brett

    This is just so typical of politics. Cut aid and funding to programs where it matters the most. The big boys on wall street will always get a handout but on mainstreet, it's a different story and I am ashamed of the political rumblings on a big and small scale alike. The bottom line is THEY DO NOT CARE.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  77. jack

    Then maybe we will realize the only thing we should outsource to Mexicao is our prison system. I get fed up hearing why poor minorities cannot make. I have raised 2 successful children and expect to give them my inheritance, not to some illegals who manage to birth their kids in the US and want a medical handout. Fed up Middle Class American.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  78. JD

    The solution to this problem is simple: stop giving away BILLIONS of dollars in free health care to illegal aliens and their anchor kids. You take care of that one problem and every American who needs health care will get it. Period. End of story.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  79. Inu

    My advice: go to night school. learn english. go to jobs training courses. learn a trade. stop having children until you can insure them, feed and clothe them. volunteer at child development clinics to get service or more education of how to deal with your son. if you're illegal. go to your country of origin which you people always seem to have a loyal to before the u.s. we don't have sympathy for those that DON'T seem to help themselves.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  80. Mica

    Lynne ,

    please help me see where it says that Carlos and his family are illegals?Would u ever go clean a toilet for 5$ Lynne?Would u work a construction job in 112 degrees for 10$?If u say say yes to any of these two then lets just send everyone back where they came from and hire u.Shut your mouth and become a human u animal.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  81. Leo_in_LA

    How much more do the CA taxpayers have to give to "save Carlos"? We are already hit with a high sales tax and income tax.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  82. Mary Gillmore

    None of us whish harm to any child, but the problem isn't a lack of sympathy, it's a lack of money. Although this article won't say it, the only answer to the noted problem is raising more taxes. California is already the heavy overall taxed state in the nation. A state simply cannot continue to treat its taxpayers as an open bank account. Ten years ago, six members of my family lived in California. I am the only one left. The other five families moved to other states where they are less taxed. I am on the fence. Any new taxes and I will leave. Keep in mind that these six families were all successful, tax paying families. As harsh as it may sound, the time has come for new organizations like CNN to start telling the other side of the story and end the heart-pulling, issue pushing approach to news. Is there any wonder why your rating as so down? You're completely out of touch.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  83. Anthony

    Maybe we should get little kids off of drugs.. I am really sick of little kids getting doped up so that they behave like a normal adjusted adult..
    I pretty convinced that most kids with ADHD or ADD are actually just normal little kids and their parents are the ones with the problem..
    Kids are supposed to be active and random and nervous about stuff. it is the parents job to deal with the child without giving the powerful mood changing drugs.. what is the long term effect of messing up the chemistry of a childs brain long before it has finished growing and developing.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  84. mary cifuentes

    Here's a solution, have Carlos parents pay for therapy. Carlos was getting help for free and it didn;t work, maybe if the parents have to pay they will take it more seriously.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  85. chris in Los Angeles

    Kick out the illegals, cut all funding to them comepletely and California will have a surplus of at least $500 million dollars

    March 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  86. Ginny

    $2000 now versus $40000 later. False choices. Because we provide both options, illegals and their offspring are a drain. The mother doesn't even speak English. How do they ever expect to contribute to this economy and our future as a nation. They have a mentality that government (that's us) is to pay for their choices and lack of individual responsibility.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  87. tidho

    We don't have the money.

    It would be nice if we could give everyone everything, but...

    We don't have the money.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  88. mike

    what is your problem, cnn? why do you keep putting out media against healthcare reform?

    March 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  89. Lorna

    I agree that we need to start cutting costs, but I am having a hard time saying that it should be off the backs of children, who really have no control over what their parents do or have done.
    We need the government to come up with some solution to the illegial alien mess, but we also need to open our hearts to kids – they are our future regardless of whether their parents are legal or not (oh, an there are a lot of legal hispanics (born here, green cards, ect..) who can't speak english well. Their parents never educated them.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  90. Kenneth Fox, New York, NY

    Society is stretched to the limit, and endless taxation and "taking from those that have" is not the answer. The story rings true on one very important issue – governments have over promised. An entire generation of "Carloses" will need be sacraficed to force hordes who are nanny-state reliant to become self-sufficient. Jack in LA called it right – the story stinks of illegal alien parents who should be deported. Carlos is not my problem!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  91. alcycle

    The one thing 'left out' by Thelma G. was whether Carlos's Family is living in California LEGALLY! If they are US citizens then this is horrible lack of treatment by the State!! ....he needs help & the parents should demand it!! If the Family is ILLEGAL...then they should return to their Native Country, as most Socialist Countries have way more & better (per Michel Moore) Healthcare benefits & its FREE .....than the US does! This lack of caring about their child & only focusing on their adult needs is not right!!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  92. philip carroll

    lots of super rich in California......time to loosen the purse strings and get your state out of debt. I have seen the pictures of some of the Arron Spellings massive house.Healthcare should be Job #1.......that is the most important thing on the agenda........keeping people healthy,housed and fed.lots of money for bailing out banks,wars in Iraq etc and always tons of foreign aid money. Remember charity begins at home.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  93. Tracy W

    Why are kids like Carlos the state's responsibility? It's unfortunate for the kids that are involved, but obviously the parents are here illegally, and therefore sucking on the hind tit for social services and entitlement programs. Get rid of those who should not be here! We, the taxpayers cannot, and should not, have to pay for these programs. Take down the bird feeder.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  94. Joel in Southie

    Yeah, I just read the article again...where does it say they're illegals? Is it the part where the mother is a homemaker? You know that "homemaker" is actually the accepted vernacular for "stay at home mom" right?. Or is it the part where the Father has an underpaid job as a street vendor? Better than begging, at least he's working. And unless he's pushing drugs, I'm sure there're better things for LA's finest to be worried about. So I guess it must be the part where the kid is named Carlos. Sounds foreign, must be a criminal. The ignorance is astounding. Nevermind the fact that this same situation is happening to people all across the great (bankrupt) state of california, so surely there must be some upstanding respectable families going through the same thing. So wake up. It's a problem, and it needs to be fixed.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  95. Patricia Brown

    Carlos is a lovable, charming boy; however, his story reports one side of the political argument, and since this is ostensibly a story about California's budget woes, CNN should report both sides of the political debate. Of course, any taxpayer would agree that given a choice between a $2000.00 expenditure now for a child to avoid a $40,000.00 a year expenditure later to incarcerate an adult is not really a choice–instead, as taxpayers we feel we've been taken hostage by those who think government money comes from a government money tree–and I'm no tea party activist, I voted for Obama. The other side of the political argument wants fellow citizens to be responsible for their lives. Learn English (the mother couldn't speak English in the report) so that you have more employment opportunities. Learn English so that you can read available parenting advice in books and magazines. Get an education beyond high school or don't complain that you can't get a job other than at the Wal-mart checkout. Don't have children until you can afford to take care of them, including health care for your children. Or have all the children you want, but don't ask other citizens to go to work to pay for your children. That's why taxpayers feel that they are held hostage. It seems initially offensive to tell someone don't have children you can't afford, but that decision is impacting my family–you are taking away money from my family's budget for food, health care, and education–and I object! For those of us watching the story who live in California, we are acutely aware that most of the people in our state who entered the country illegally have at best a grade school education, which does not put them in any position to find employment that would create an income sufficient to raise a family. That enormous burden then falls on the rest of us to provide the social service safety net for all of the residents who can't possibly compete in a 21st century economy. We don't need more immigrants in California to be impoverished street vendors (Carlos's father), we need immigrants with college level technical skills who can contribute to building a 21st century America. That is the harsh reality, and I don't want to be taxed to pay for Carlos's parents lack of personal responsibility.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  96. rik

    Great that Carlos is getting the help he needs and I wish his family well but if California and this nation got a handle on its illegal immigration problems, the clinics wouldnt be packed, the state wouldnt be broke, the taxpayers wouldnt be overburdened and the schools and cities wouldnt need to beg for nearly as much money. Stop supporting illegal immigration in any form (employment, handouts, etc) and force them through legal channels and this problem could get solved

    March 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  97. Whiting Wicker

    Perhaps if less money goes overseas, more money will be available here in the USA to help our country's children??? I'm not against helping those less fortunate than us, but doesn't charity begin at home???

    March 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  98. azn guy

    these people aren't paying taxes anyway. and NO, these poor kids aren't the state's responsibility, they're their parents' responsibility.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  99. Jack in LA

    I think this article will have the opposite effect from what it's intended to have. Instead of feeling sympathy for Carlos, I want him and his family to be deported back to Mexico (or Central America). It's fairly obvious that Carlos' parents are illegal aliens – people who broke into the United States – and that Carlos is either illegal too, or born here, and therefore an "anchor baby." If Carlos is born here, his parents can use him to get welfare, housing, food stamps, and a whole host of other freebies you and I can't get. Also, his dad working as a street vendor in LA is illegal (though the politically correct LAPD turn a blind eye to it), and street vendors and "homemakers" (maids) get paid cash and don't pay taxes. Why should I pay taxes so illegals can enjoy a tax-free existence?

    March 9, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  100. Lynne

    The reason behind the cuts to the budgets (they're overburned) the reason behind the crowded clinics are illegals just like this family. If our American tax dollars were not paying for illegals, if our clinics were not filled with them getting free health care, then our American citizens who deperately need this care would be able to access it. While I feel for this child and his issues, they should not be the burden of American citizens, nor should citizens not be able to receive the care that they need while illegals do at the expense of the American taxpayer.

    March 9, 2010 at 10:55 am |
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