Mental health services funded
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:34
Several agencies were given additional funding Monday by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board to expand and implement new programs.
The board, at its Monday meeting, approved $339,820 in additional funding to Behavioral Connections, Children's Resource Center, Wood County Educational Service Center and Wood County NAMI. The funding is for one year, beginning in July.
Behavioral Connections received the largest portion of the funding with $238,536 to put be toward a residential home for transitional age youth and a program designed to make the youth more independent.
The residential home, targeted for youth ages 18 to 24, is currently licensed to house four males. However, Dr. Richard Goldberg, executive director of Behavioral Connections, said the agency is seeking authority to host five youths.
While at the home, youth will receive treatment, be assisted with educational goals and placement, learn job and life skills and receive case management services.
The board earmarked $167,928 for the residential home.
While residing in the home, the youth will enter into a program called the Transition to Independence Process, in which they will utilize all of Behavioral Connection's services and links to other social services, but on a more frequent and individualized basis. The board allocated $70,608 for this programming.
"Without this programing, many of the youths will become involved in the criminal justice system and we are trying to reduce that number," Goldberg said.
The Children's Resource Center also received $50,000 in additional funding to be put toward creating a staff position for crisis intervention with youth and their families, said Tom Clemons, associate director of the ADAMHS Board.
The Wood County Educational Service Center was allocated $46,574 to help county schools struggling to maintain their alcohol, drug and tobacco prevention programming, Clemons said.
Wood County NAMI was also given a grant for $4,710 to be put toward continuing and expanding some of its programs.
The board had numerous requests for additional funding, some of which were turned down. Local agencies asked for more than $550,000 in funding to be put toward 11 different programs.
"Everyone has good ideas, it is just a matter of funding them, of course, and utilizing them," said board member Tom Vermilya.
Board member Jerome Carpenter voted against the resolution allocating the funds and accused members of "railroading" the vote without having all the information necessary.
Frank McLaughlin, board member, urged the board to conduct a needs assessment to assist members in allocating funds in the future.
"I think it would be good idea to have something more formal to hang our hats on," McLaughlin said. "I think we can afford to have a professional do it and I think we should."
Executive director Larry Mershman, in response to McLaughlin, said the board would be better suited if it had a service inventory and gap analysis, as opposed to a needs assessment.
Also at the meeting, the slate of officers for fiscal year 2013 was announced: Judy Ennis, chair; McLaughlin, vice-chair, Randy Rothenbuhler, treasurer; and Casey Cromwell, secretary.