Carney announces $16M for children’s mental health facility

Charlie MegginsonGovernment, Headlines

John Carney et al. posing for a photo

Gov. John Carney announced the investment in Elsmere Tuesday alongside Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and DSYCF secretary Josette Manning.

Delaware will invest $16 million in federal COVID relief funds to renovate and remodel a building aimed at addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of children. 

By rehabilitating Wharton Hall on the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families’ campus near Elsmere, the state will add more in-state crisis beds and create a “state-of-the-art, trauma-informed behavioral health diagnostic center.”

Department secretary Josette Manning said the need for such a facility is illustrated by the fact that one in three high school students report feeling persistently sad and hopeless. 

“This adolescent diagnosis center and expansion of crisis beds will allow us to provide better services to youth and adolescents while we keep them closer to their homes and closer to their communities,” Manning said.

Targeted interventions will help stabilize those children, Manning said, so that they can return to their homes and their communities sooner.

“It’ll ensure they get the proper care they need, that we take a look at the whole child and the family and we support them and meet them where they are,” she concluded. “This is not going to solve all of our problems, but it is a huge step in the right direction.”

Gov. John Carney said the project “has to happen fast.”

“This is actually a project that hopefully I’ll see by the end of my term,” Carney said. “I’ve got something like two and a half years left and we’ll be back here hopefully to cut a ribbon at that time.”

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, included $925 million for one-time projects in Delaware.

To qualify, projects must meet pandemic response needs, “build a stronger, more equitable economy” in communities hit hard by COVID-19, provide immediate economic stabilization for impacted households and businesses and address systemic public health, public safety, and economic challenges.

Carney has allocated $50 million for job readiness training, $26.4 million for housing, $40 million for libraries, $10 million for broadband internet access, and more.

To watch the announcement in its entirety, click here.

To see a complete list of ARPA allocations, click here.

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