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DHS news release

January 26, 2005

Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738

Program contact: Bob Nikkel (503) 945-9708

Remaining adolescents at Oregon State Hospital to move to community treatment

The Oregon Department of Human Services said Wednesday that the 16 adolescent patients remaining at Oregon State Hospital in Salem will begin moving March 1 to community treatment settings, most to the Children's Farm Home near Corvallis.

Once the youths are moved from the state hospital, officials said, DHS will close the adolescent treatment ward, which treated youths ages 14-18 years. The department will work with affected employees to move them to other positions within the state hospital.

"One of my priorities since taking office has been to work with the Department of Human Services to improve the quality of mental health and support services for Oregon's children and families," said Governor Ted Kulongoski. "Part of that effort has included a focus on moving children and adolescents out of the institutional care provided by the Oregon State Hospital and into community-based programs and facilities. This is an important step in strengthening the services the state supports for Oregon's children with mental health needs."

Moving adolescents from the state hospital has been part of the department's long-standing commitment to providing treatment options in the community, DHS Director Gary Weeks said. The phase-out of children's wards at the state hospital began in 2001 with the closure of Ward 40A, followed by subsequent consolidations and additional transfers of adolescents patients to community settings in the past few years.

"This is a good opportunity for us to finish what we started in 2001, finding community treatment environments that are more well suited to the needs of children and adolescents," Weeks said.

The Children's Farm Home, operated by Trillium Family Services, is a secure community facility designed to serve children and adolescents. Twelve of the patients will be placed there in a new 12-bed unit, and the balance will be placed in other safe and appropriate community treatment settings.