Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Park home for youths with behavioral problems to close

PINELLAS PARK — As a result of a shift toward home treatment, the youth group home at Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services will close by the start of the summer.

The Pinellas Park nonprofit, known as PEMHS, ran the home for boys and girls ages 11 to 18 with behavioral problems for almost five years. The group home served as a transition from the Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Program back to the family or foster family. At PEMHS, the teens attend their local public school but receive therapy and live at 11254 58th St. N for up to three months.

PEMHS decided to close the 12-bed wing after seeing a lack of consistent referrals, said executive director Tom Wedekind. Parents can opt out of sending their child to a state-approved group home and instead get treatment at home.

Coupled with the cost of maintaining a regulated staff-to-student ratio, the group home has been bleeding financially for years with waves of low enrollment. The home has just five children now.

"That seems to be the way mental health responses seem to be going," Wedekind said.

He said the group home staff of 11 will be redistributed to a new in-home program as well as a children's crisis unit and adult unit. There are no plans yet for the facility.

PEMHS is funded by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and Eckerd Community Alternatives.

While the program is not accepting more teens, current clients will be able to finish their programs and leave with a discharge plan.

The closing of the PEMHS wing means spillover for Carlton Manor, the only remaining residential treatment center for children and adolescents in Pinellas County.

Carlton Manor executive director Paul Buxbaum has been in talks with PEMHS about moving some boys to Carlton Manor, which has a few openings. Carlton Manor might have to make room for girls, as the home now is just for boys, ages 7 to 17.

"We're interested in expanding services, be it for girls or for boys," Buxbaum said.

He said his three group homes with a capacity for a total of 34 boys have seen a steady occupancy rate of 90 percent. He attributed the program's success to its strong relationship with the community and parental involvement.

"We appear to be less institutional," he said. "Our kids attend school every day in the community."

Though referrals occasionally decrease, and in-home programs are on the rise, Buxbaum said there's always a need for a transitional program.

"Whether that in-home program can provide the intensive level of service for whatever these kids need to make a successful transition, we'll find out within the next year," he said.

Colleen Wright can be reached at cwright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow her @Colleen_Wright on Twitter.

Pinellas Park home for youths with behavioral problems to close 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 3:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Watch: Gorilla dances like a 'maniac' in kiddie pool

    Blogs

    Zola, a gorilla who resides at the Dallas Zoo has gone viral after showing off his dance moves.
  2. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  3. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

    National

    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  4. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  5. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]