Del. Looking to Close Kent County Treatment Facility - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Looking to Close Kent County Treatment Facility

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DOVER, Del.- The Delaware Department of Children is looking to close Kent County's treatment facility for troubled kids.

The Brenford Residential Treatment Facility near Dover is a place for some of Delaware's most challenging kids.

"Those who may have greater mental health challenges, who may have greater impulse control issues," said Andrea Wojcik, with the state's Department of Children.

Wojcik says the house Brenford uses has issues.

"It's an older, single-family home in a remote area. It doesn't have proper lines of sight for staff supervision."

At this week's budget hearings, the Department of Children told lawmakers it was looking to close the facility, as its lease ends, and consolidate operations north. Instead of going to a facility in Kent County, kids would go to the Silver Lake Center in Middletown in New Castle County.

That would require a $260,000 expansion. But the department believes it's the best option. state Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, isn't so sure.

"In 2012, we had seven teenage suicides between Kent and Sussex in a 5-month period," Ennis said. "The question came up - with all the problems in Kent County, why are they going to Middletown?"

The Department of Children says the facility wouldn't stop the suicides. Officials instead point to plans like adding more mental health professionals to middle schools.

Still Kent County lawmakers worry with treatment in Middletown kids won't have an outlet in Kent. The Department of Children points to the Brenford's current population.

"Most of the residents current at Brenford aren't actually Kent County residents," Wojcik said. "They're New Castle County residents."

Currently the state works with seven kids at Brenford and about the same number at Silver Lake.

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