Wood Lane considers land swap to build 2 residential homes

Wood Lane is considering a land swap with the county to have the space needed to build a residential treatment center for youth with developmental disabilities and complex needs.

“The program will need to be flexible and resilient in the manner services are delivered to creatively meet the complex needs of the youth with developmental disabilities who would benefit from this opportunity,” Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Brent Baer reported at the Sept. 19 meeting.

The first step was to identify a location in Wood County. Administrators evaluated 20 acres the board owns to the west of the Wood Lane campus.

However, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities prohibits the development of residential space on property that is connected to the main campus and board offices.

Conversations with the Wood County Commissioners have led to a plan to restructure approximately 70 acres owned by the county, also to the west of the Wood Lane campus but adjacent to Interstate 75.

A land swap of 20 acres has been proposed, Baer said.

The board approved the resolution for the exchange of property.

“This is the first stage for us,” Baer said.

The need for a short- and long-term options for individuals with developmental disabilities who are also eligible for multiple service systems continues to grow.

The term multiple service systems is defined as youth who meet eligibility criteria from two or more social service programs, Baer said.

The number of youth in need of intensive treatment options including residential services continue to grow in Wood Bounty, he said.

Other county agencies such as Job and Family Services, juvenile court and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Board, are all experiencing the increased demand for intensive services for youth, he said.

The size of the facility will be restricted to four or fewer individuals per home, due to regulatory requirements.

Baer said it is anticipated that two homes will need to be developed with the ability serve four males and four females in each respective home.

There is no formal waiting list, but during the assessment and evaluation process to determine the need of the program, it was consistently identified to anticipate 15 to 25 referrals throughout a rolling calendar year, he said.

“We foresee the need to maintain a waiting list once the program is in operation,” Baer said.

The closest similar program to what we are developing is in Franklin County, he said.

The hope is to have the facility occupied in 2024.

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Learned the new website is operational with new features and an “on-call crisis line” link on every page.

• Learned that $25 gift cards were given out to more than 700 direct support professionals as part of DSP Week.

There continues to be a DSP shortage and the gifts were in appreciation of their dedication.

Funds for the cards came from a reallocation of $16,400 remaining in grants plus $835 from the DSP recognition campaign.