Private treatment program for teenage girls wants to use closing Miami County rehab center

Miami County Courthouse. STAFF
Miami County Courthouse. STAFF

TROY – A residential treatment program for teenage girls hopes to bring new life to the West Central Juvenile Rehabilitation Center building following the state closing of that program by month’s end.

The operators of Rite of Passage, a privately owned company with treatment programs for young people across the country, has its eye on the building owned by Miami County, program executive director Mike Cantrell told the county commission June 3.

Cantrell worked at the West Central facility in its early days before leaving 19 years ago. He has been with Rite of Passage for eight years, he said.

The proposed West Central Academy for Girls would be for up to 36 girls who could be referred by juvenile courts, the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The locked center would provide programming for juvenile girls with a history of trauma along with criminal and aggressive behavior, Cantrell said.

The company would talk with neighboring counties about possibly signing up for treatment center beds although he would anticipate interest from beyond, Cantrell said. He said he was told in discussions with juvenile officials across the state that “there is no good place for girls” to receive treatment.

The West Central rehabilitation building, constructed in 1993, is next to the West Central Juvenile Detention Center on land between Troy and Piqua off County Road 25A.

The Ohio Department of Youth Services said it would close the rehabilitation facility by the end of June, saying use of the facility for teenage boys had declined and the youth could be served at other facilities in the state.

The commissioners and center director attempted to have the decision reversed but were not successful.

Commissioners earlier had met with law enforcement, court and mental health representatives to see if the facility could be used for another local purpose.

“We’re very, very pleased you are even interested. We didn’t want that space out there for something that wasn’t going to be a benefit for our community,” Commission President Greg Simmons told Cantrell.

Rite of Passage would be interested in employing remaining rehabilitation center employees, if they would be interested, Cantrell said. Those employees could train at the organization’s program in the Cincinnati area, he said. Many of the employees have found other jobs since the closing was announced and more youth were not assigned to the center.

The commissioners Tuesday said they asked interim county Administrator Dave Collinsworth to work on a possible agreement between the county and Rite of Passage.

If an agreement is reached, the program could be up and running in around 60 days, Cantrell said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.