COLD SPRING -- A new kind of treatment center for children with intellectual, developmental, and mental health challenges is coming to central Minnesota next year.

Due in part to the pandemic, Minnesota issued a request for proposal (RPF) to bring in providers who could address the growing need for children’s mental health services in the state.

Grafton Integrated Health Network submitted a proposal and was contracted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to run a 30-bed psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) in Cold Spring.

The center will be Grafton’s first in Minnesota and will serve kids ages 8-21 who are enrolled in school. Operations Administrator Abdus Samad says the Virginia-based organization was started in the 1950s by a woman whose dyslexic son was unable to get the help he needed at school.

She was not somebody who would give up, so she started educating him on her own. She herself had a teaching background. The neighbors found out that Ruth Birch was having trouble with the school district and they started contacting her. The neighbors and the people in the local community said my kid has this problem, or the school district won't help me and that's really how it started.

The inpatient center will partner with other local providers to offer a variety of care strategies such as individual, family, and group therapies, as well as specialty services, such as occupational, physical, and speech therapies. The goal is to help families identify and manage behaviors and triggers and return children to their homes.

Samad says the care offered at the center is unlike anything else currently available in the state as staff will be trained in the Ukeru method. The system was created by Grafton in 2004 after a patient passed away at a group home in the mid-1990s from a medical condition that was aggravated by a restraint.

Leadership at the time came together and started exploring options around what are some alternatives to physical restraints and physical seclusion. So, it's a de-escalation and behavior management system that is solely based on relationships.

The facility at 224 Krays Mill Road is expected to open in early 2022 once renovations and hiring are complete.

You can learn more about the services available or apply for one of the nearly 45 open positions by visiting Grafton's website or contacting Samad by email at abdus.samad@grafton.org or by phone at 540-486-6231.

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