Middletown Transcript
  • State mental rehab center for teens plans to expand in Middletown

  • A 19-year-old, state-run residential psychiatric treatment facility for teenage boys in Middletown is planning to double its existing size by adding a new building that would house teenage girls.
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  • A 19-year-old, state-run residential psychiatric treatment facility for teenage boys in Middletown is planning to double its existing size by adding a new building that would house teenage girls.
    Pembrey Holding, which leases the 4-acre Silver Lake Center to Delaware’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health (DPBH), is planning to break ground this spring on a 13,200-square-foot residential unit at 495 E. Main St.
    Once complete, the new $2 million building will provide living space for eight girls between the ages of 13 and 17, as well as an indoor recreation facility.
    The treatment center currently consists of two buildings, including the eight-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot Middletown Manor Residential Treatment Center and the 6,000-square-foot Silver Lake Day Treatment Center, which provides non-residential psychiatric and educational services to another eight boys and girls.
    Steven Yeatman, the deputy director of DPBH, said the construction of the new building in Middletown would allow the division to close the 30-year-old Brenford Residential Treatment Center, which currently houses eight boys and girls in a converted ranch house near Smyrna.
    “Brenford has served its purpose well over the years, but it wasn’t built to be a residential treatment facility and has poor sight lines for staff members to monitor the kids,” he said. “Middletown is still somewhat centrally located in the state and is much closer to major thoroughfares.”
    The Silver Lake and Brenford facilities are the only two residential psychiatric treatment centers for teens operated directly by the state. Three others, including two in New Castle County and one in Sussex County, provide similar services through contracts with the state.
    “The children who stay at the Silver Lake and Brenford residential treatment centers typically have experienced various forms of trauma, anxiety and depression, and are not able to safely stay in their own homes due to suicidal ideations and other psychological issues,” Yeatman said. “Some of the kids are required to receive treatment by the courts, but these are treatment facilities, not detention centers.”
    Most teens stay at Silver Lake for four to seven months, during which time they receive a range of individual and group therapies provided by two full-time psychologists, a handful of licensed therapists and nurses, and a contracted psychiatrist, he said.
    The facility also provides intensive, once-a-week outpatient services to another eight teens, some of whom are transitioning back into their communities from the residential center. Residential patients of both the Middletown and Smyrna facilities also attend classes at the Silver Lake Day Treatment Center.
    Yeatman said no more than 24 teens would be receiving treatment at the Silver Lake Center at any one time after the girls residential building is added.
    Dan Martelli of Pembrey Holding said construction of the new girls residential building would require the relocation of an existing basketball court, as well as the drainage and expansion of a stormwater retention pond, currently stocked with fish.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The pond was actually intended to be a dry pond when it was first built in 1993, but for one reason or another it filled up and the kids there adopted it as a wetland and use it as an amenity,” he said. “If I had my druthers, it would remain a fishing pond, but unfortunately, I don’t have my druthers in this instance.”
    Middletown Town Council unanimously approved a preliminary development plan for the new residential treatment building on Monday. A vote on the final design is expected to come Feb. 3.
    If approved, construction could begin in April.
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