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"Secure" RTF Development Proposed
March 10, 2002

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is considering development of "secure" Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs) for the mentally ill/delinquent population. OMHSAS cites data indicating that there are currently 25 - 30 delinquent youth with severe mental illness who have been placed in out-of-state facilities. These placements have been ordered by juvenile court judges who believe that there are no mental health settings in PA that are secure enough to serve these youth.

OMHSAS is considering start up of two small, 12 - 16 bed, secure RTFs, one in the east and one in the west, to enable these youth to return to their home state. The interest is in RTFs that are clinically based and secure, not "jails with mental health services."

Relatedly, at a recent meeting convened by PCPA, a representative of the Juvenile Court Judges Commission indicated that there is need for mental health services for children in the delinquency system. Specifically cited was the need for residential services that can respond to the time constraints of the judicial system. It is understood that this could involve payment outside the Medical Assistance system.

Interested provider agencies are encouraged to research this issue and begin the process of developing proposals. For additional information, contact Stan Mrozowski at PCPA.

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