New Facility for At Risk Teens Planned for Gulf CoastBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 01 Dec 2010 09:46am |
Constuction on a brand new Gulf Coast facility aimed at helping troubled teens is underway, as concerns mount over a 15 percent proposed budget cut to the Department of Mental Health. MPB’s Phoebe Judge has this report.
The Mississippi Children’s Home Services operates around the state and serves 30,000 individuals each year, offering adoption and a number of behavioral and mental health services. Their latest project is a 20 bed residential facility for at risk teens between the ages of 14-18. At a ceremony yesterday on the 80 acre campus in Saucier, dozens came to help break ground on the $3 million dollar project. The funding is coming from a somewhat unlikely source, part of the Hurricane Katrina recovery funds. But Lee Youngblood, with the Mississippi Development Authority says the goal of the $5.4 billion dollars in federal funds awarded to the state after the storm was always to help rebuild communities from the ground up,
“I mean that means water and waste water systems that means residential housing in my any cases and that means a facility like this, that provides and serves a need in the community and that is exactly what this facility is.”
The new facility will combine education programs alongside vocational projects, and allow an open campus so that residents can be involved in more community based programs. That’s something the state desperately needs more of says MCHS Chris Cherney,
“This is unique in that it takes an older adolescent. It is not going to be a closed setting like a psychiatric hospital, it is going to have the community come in, volunteer, be mentors, as well as the young people going out in the community. So they need more facilities like this.”
MCHS recently took a cut in their funding from the Department of Mental Health, and it’s possible that more is likely to come. Governor Barbour is recommending a 7 percent cut to the Department of Mental Health’s budget, a move that Chris Cherney says could be catastrophic.
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