The dedication of the specialized treatment facility in north Harrison County marks the opening of the center that has sat unfunded for nearly three years. The legislature came up with $3 million to get it operating, if only halfway.
Center Director Dale Roberts says, "We are celebrating the vision of the legislature in having a positive idea for serving adolescents in our state who have both behavior and emotional problems."
Clients 13 to 21 one years old will be treated here. One legislator who led the effort to help those people was the late Senator Clyde Woodfield. His widow, his friends and former colleagues made sure he got credit they say he deserves.
"Clyde's heart did go out to those who had special challenges whether it was the elderly or the underprivileged or perhaps a physically challenged individual or emotionally or mentally challenged. He felt that all of our citizens should be served," says Sharon Woodfield.
Roger McMurtry, of the Bureau of Mental Health concurred, saying, "He was a good representative for the people of this district that he stood for and for all citizens of Mississippi that any sort of mental disability."
The center can treat up to 48 clients, when it's fully funded.
The executive director of the state's mental health department, Dr. Randel Hendrix, says, "Since the legislature last year, when funding was so short, saw the need to open this facility we feel certain they will keep it open in the coming years. We'll very hopeful that next year we will get money to bring it into full operation."
For now, there is enough money and staff to treat 24 South Mississippians with special needs. Center director Dale Roberts says by next week she expects to have admitted all those clients.