Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced today that DHHR will build a new Children’s Crisis Center in Elkins, West Virginia that will offer a safe alternative from the use of hospital emergency departments and hotel rooms to address the needs of children who may be experiencing a behavioral health crisis and have been removed from their homes.
The new center will be located on the current site of the West Virginia Children’s Home. The target population of the new center is children and youth under the age of 21, with the primary target being ages 9 to 21, who are experiencing behavioral health crises that need to be urgently evaluated, stabilized, and then referred to the most appropriate level of care, including community- and home-based services.
“We know that children, like adults, can have behavioral health needs that can become a crisis and we need to do more to help West Virginia’s kids when and where they need it,” Gov. Justice said. “In the past, West Virginia has not had the right kind of services in our state and kids had to leave to receive the care they need. That’s just not right; we need to provide services in our home state.”
The proposed facility will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will utilize private patient rooms to provide these services with stays up to 14 days. It will offer an array of services that begins with initial triage and includes crisis assessment, stabilization and intervention, nursing assessment and intervention, psychiatric intervention, peer support, observation, ongoing assessment, and disposition and discharge planning.
“DHHR, out of sheer necessity, has had to have staff stay with children who are difficult to place and difficult to care for in hotel rooms due to the lack of an appropriate facility,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “We expect this facility to alleviate that need to provide the necessary and appropriate care and treatment of West Virginia’s youth.”
A request for proposal will be issued by DHHR for the construction of the new facility.