Jill Eddy from Youth Services System, approached the Wetzel County commission Tuesday in regard to finding adequate facilities for various YSS treatments.
Eddy stated she has worked with YSS for about 13 years and her agency is celebrating their 40th anniversary in May. "We started with emergency shelters for children." Furthermore, she stated that YSS "runs a privately owned Northern Regional Juvenile Detention Center." She stated that as for New Martinsville, YSS has "The Tuel Center" which is our transitional living facility. We also have transitional living programs in Wheeling, so we've been around working with at-risk youth for a very long time."
"We also provide community based services," Eddy noted. "We have psychologists and therapists on our staff. We work with youth mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse, and abuse and neglect. We have about a staff of 160."
"We have an opportunity in front of us to apply for a grant for the Bureau of Behavioral Health in Charleston," she stated. "We have a very good chance. Eddy stated that the grant YSS has the opportunity to apply for now is "a regional youth services center."
"We would be connected to the state in a live data system electronically, and we would be aware of all resources and where there are available treatment beds for youth." She added: "What they also want is for us to work with county coalitions. They want us to also have a centralized intake department so if someone has a child that is having drug and alcohol problems with maybe mental health concerns, they don't have to go on a waiting list to get an assessment or help. We'd be able to provide assessment services. We'd hire master level clinicians and run outpatient services for kids that are dabbling but not addicted. However, if we think a child is at risk in dabbling, we would be able to provide outpatient services, and there would be random drug screens. We'd work with county probation and with DHHR to provide youths and families in this area."
Eddy added: "Because it's a grant, and a new grant, the governor has a plan to form a behavioral health network for youth. This grant would be part of it. We'd be one of six centers that would all be connected so that we can get live data, actual good data, and note the seriousness of our problem. We'd make access easier and coordinate services within a community so there's no wait time for someone to get care they need."
"Because it's new we are looking to hire staff . . . A lot of the money is going to be sucked up quickly. I was finalizing the budget yesterday, and I could cry. You have to pay a decent rate and then new healthcare costs . . .They went up in our agency. You get the money that would go into training them. We want to train them on research-based programs to serve youth. There's not a lot of money left for rent and start up. I think down the road they may help us with start-up, but I think you have to be awarded the contract before they can have conversations with you."
"I thought I'd start talking to people . . . We are really looking to start with two small offices to start with counseling, and we'd need a group room. It'd have to fit a table with approximately 15 chairs, and so, basically that's what I wanted to present to the commission, was the consideration of any space that may be available to help us get this program started in Wetzel County."
Eddy stated she has already talked to the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families, Northwood Health Systems, and Wetzel County Hospital regarding office space, and all places have no space.
"Your priority is office space, two offices?" Commission Vice President Larry Lemon asked.
Eddy stated that it was. "I have a little bit of time before this grant has to be submitted, and after I worked very hard, they just extended the deadline. It was going to be this Friday, but we now have to April 18 to electronically submit the grant, so I can breathe."
"Does the grant provide rental costs?" asked Mason.
"They do approve it, but I have to soak so much money into this research-based training. After the first year, and I get people through the training, I'll have a little bit of money for rent, but I'm not going to have the money right away because of so much money going to training.
"Coming from a non-profit agency, you would always love space that you could get free, but the next best thing would be a very reasonable amount, so I can put some in the budget which would be rent and include utilities. I have a little wiggle room."
The commission stated they would remain in contact with Eddy regarding any possible rental space. "It sounds like a program we need in our area right now," Mason stated.