CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – A new Children’s Crisis Center will be built in Elkins to offer shelter to children who need to be removed from their homes, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced on Tuesday.

According to the release from the DHHR and Gov. Jim Justice, hospital emergency departments and hotel rooms are currently used for children who are removed from their homes due to behavioral health crises because there is no other option.

“DHHR, out of sheer necessity, has had to have staff stay with children who are difficult to place and difficult to care for in hotel rooms due to the lack of an appropriate facility,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “We expect this facility to alleviate that need to provide the necessary and appropriate care and treatment of West Virginia’s youth.”

The new 24/7 center will be located on the current site of the West Virginia Children’s Home at 109 Maple Street and will primarily serve those between the ages of nine and 21. Young people who are experiencing behavioral health crises will be urgently evaluated, stabilized, and then referred to the most appropriate level of care, according to the release. Patients will be able to stay in private rooms for up to 14 days as needed.

West Virginia Children’s Home in Elkins (WBOY image)

“We know that children, like adults, can have behavioral health needs that can become a crisis and we need to do more to help West Virginia’s kids when and where they need it,” Gov. Justice said. “In the past, West Virginia has not had the right kind of services in our state and kids had to leave to receive the care they need. That’s just not right; we need to provide services in our home state.”

According to the release, a request for proposal will be issued by DHHR for the construction of the new facility, and more details will be shared as the process moves forward.