A $6.5 million expansion and relocation of a Montgomery County in-patient treatment center to a nearby building should allow more youth — and particularly a greater number of girls — to get drug treatment closer to home, according to county officials.
Montgomery County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to put $2.9 million toward the $6.5 move of the Frank W. Nicholas Residential Treatment Center for Youth to the currently mothballed Dora Lee Tate Center. Both are in Jefferson Twp.
The existing facility on Dayton-Liberty Road takes only boys, but the new project includes a dormitory for girls, who currently can’t find treatment beds in the county, said Eric Shafer, Montgomery County Juvenile Court assistant court administrator.
“We search very hard for a location across the state of Ohio and sometimes in other states and we find placements for them in communities typically pretty far from Dayton,” he said.
About eight in 10 of the 550 teenagers on probation any given day in Montgomery County have a substance use disorder, Shafer said. Though not all require in-patient treatment, the current numbers overwhelm the system, he said.
Twelve girls sat in detention on Monday, all waiting residential placement, Shafer said. The county routinely sends girls to open treatment beds as far away as Cincinnati, Akron or the Cleveland area, he said.
The upgraded facility will have a total of 40 beds, 18 more than the existing residential shelter that treats youth ages 11-17 battling drug addiction. The project is scheduled to be operating by January of 2019.
Other renovation funds will come from juvenile court general funds and other federal dollars. Money to operate the new facility at 581 Infirmary Rd. will come from a mix of funding and revenue from the county, juvenile court, Children Services placement revenues, Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services board and federal programs.
Jewell Good, Children Services director, Montgomery County Job and Family Services, said her agency has on average 50 youth a month who require residential level of care. She said the anticipated project is a vital piece for the future success of youth battling drugs and their families.
“It’s something we don’t currently have for this age group within the county lines,” Good said. “So it’s a big deal for these teenagers and their families to be able to be placed locally, get the attention they need, while keeping that family connection and the family involved in services.”
Good said the project will ultimately save the county money in reduced travel and administrative costs racked up by Children Services staff.
The county looked at a number of options during a three-year planning process, said Phil Miller, deputy director of facilities management for Montgomery County.
Ultimately, planners settled on a short move into the mostly-empty 33,000-square-foot Dora Lee Tate Center. The site has ample parking and nearly all of the interior space is on a single floor, which mad the property appealing, Miller said. The only starting-from-scratch building required is the construction of a gymnasium for recreation, he said.
The new location will maintain a full-service school for residents. Plans also show a number of areas where counselors can meet with youth and their parents as well as kitchen and dining facilities.
Construction bids are expected to be awarded in December and January and the work accomplished throughout 2018. Once the move is complete in 2019, the Nicholas Residential Treatment Center will be demolished.