Miami County may build facility to care for children with autism

The Riverside disabilities agency currently has to place some children hundreds of miles from their family

TROY — The Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities, also known as Riverside, is exploring options for a residential facility for children who have autism, to help provide care closer to their homes and communities.

A facility plan was outlined briefly by Brian Green, superintendent of Riverside, before the county commissioners recently.

The comments came when the commissioners were asked to reappropriate money within the board’s accounts for the project, with $750,000 for buildings and a $100,000 contingency.

“Our county board is looking to purchase land or build a facility for youth that are most of the time out-of-home placements,” Green said.

There are no available facilities for the children in the county and at times none can be found within Ohio.

“We may find placement sometimes 300 miles away or so,” he said.

The facility staff would include direct support professionals with special training to work with the autistic population. The facility initially would serve up to four children. A project for adults may be pursued in the future.

“The proposed facility would mirror the out-of-county and out-of-state settings that have been successful in serving children,” according to the project proposal.

One reason for the size of the $750,000 request is a goal to have the facility outside of a subdivision/neighborhood.

“Some of the folks we serve in this home would be loud, and it is a little bit tough on their neighbors,” Green said.

The facility, though, would be close enough to a community “so we can get to stores, and integrate with the community as much as we can while realizing this can be a very difficult population.”

The plan is to build a new facility/residence, but the board would consider an existing setting that could be modified to fit residents’ needs.

The commissioners asked Green to meet with them in work session to discuss the property need. The county owns property near the Riverside offices on Troy-Sidney Road at the edge of Troy.

Hopes are to open the residence by mid-2023.

Among benefits of the facility will be up to 15 direct support professional (caretaker) positions, Green said. For families, “The facility will have closer access so they can be a part of reintegration back into the natural settings and community for the child,” he said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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