Treatment Center For Mentally Disabled Children And Teens

By James Wilcox

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 27, 2006 at 6:46 PM EDT

Local lawmakers, staff and families with mentally disabled children officially opened the 4 million dollar facility.

It located on the campus of the Greater Binghamton Health Center.

The only other live-in facility of it's kind in the area shut down in 1993.

Since then patients have had to travel hundreds of miles for treatment.

This year, 50 kids have had to seek care outside of Broome County.

For children with mental health problems, this new treatment center will be a home away from home.

A renovated, state of the art facility that's close to home.

"We've traveled all over New York state to get the type of psychatric care that he needed. Its always a crisis situation. I have other children and you're worried about whose taking care of those children,what about your job,your dog, you have to drop everything in the middle of the night for a 5 hour ambulance trip," says one mother, Casey Truillo.

The unit has room for 14 children, ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old.

Staff will help kids suffering from problems like ADHD, depression to Bipolar disorder.

A team of nearly 40 psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers will provide treatment.

"We do that a lot by play and that's why I have toys in the office. Little kids, their work is their play," says clinical social worker Andrea Barbis.

And play is part of the healing process.

Families of children being treated at the new mental health center will have a place to stay, too.

The hospitality house is a place for out of town parents to stay so they can be close to their kids and be part of the healing process.

"We treat not just the child, but the whole family and we can't do that if they're miles and miles away," says Margaret Dugan of Greater Binghamton Health Center.

Most children being treated will stay at the center about 3 weeks.

Staff will also work with the child's school to help them keep up with their studies.

The new facility won't be open to patients for another couple of months.

In the mean time, Health Center staff are traveling to area clinics and hospitals telling them about the new facility, and the services it has to offer.

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