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New Hope Expanding Services Into West Virginia

January 29, 2024 New Hope Happenings

Rock Hill, S.C., January 29, 2024 – New Hope Treatment Centers reach is continuing to grow, as it is thrilled to announce the expansion of services into the state of West Virginia.

There is a mental health and substance use disorder crisis that is ravaging our country, which was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is more youth needing high-quality mental health treatment than ever before. However, these services can be hard to access for the highest needs youth who are often older adolescents in the foster care system. In certain states like West Virginia, this problem has hit a fever pitch. The complex issue has sparked a great deal of interest, concern, and desire to make a change and offer hope.

Unfortunately, when youth are recommended for residential treatment and there are not enough options in-state, the search expands across the country. It’s not uncommon for youth in this situation to be placed literally thousands of miles from home. One of the key factors in predicting success in residential treatment is the level of involvement from their family/community of origin which is why it’s paramount that youth receive residential treatment as close to home as possible. West Virginia has more kids placed into out-of-state residential treatment facilities than any state in the country. A partnership has been formed to try to change that.

“New Hope has never been interested in growing just to grow,” said COO, Matt Simon, MA, LMFT. “That’s not who we are. But our values do call us to grow to meet needs. To grow to fill service gaps. To grow to serve the underserved. So, as we learned more about the needs of West Virginia’s youth and the number of them who sadly need to be sent out of state to receive residential care, we knew we needed to lean in. Bottom line – it’s time to start bringing the West Virginia kids home. They deserve hope and healing. I’m so grateful for the amazing partners and stakeholders in West Virginia who I believe are embracing new ideas, innovation, evidence-based treatments and investing the necessary resources to tackle this complex problem. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. New Hope and our partners in West Virginia are coming together to do things differently and help create an in-state system that works for all kids.”

The expansion is estimated to take two-three years and would not be possible without the help of our partners. With the support of Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the Bureau of Social Services, this endeavor is expected to be a game-changer in the Mountain State.  The result will be 24 new behavioral health beds dispersed across four brand new six-bed programs serving some of West Virginia’s most challenging adolescent boys and girls.   Aetna Better Health of West Virginia provided $5 million to support the expansion. The funding will help build the four specialized homes, develop the initial program and on-board staff with intensive residential care training.

“Youth with highly specialized needs are frequently sent to out-of-state facilities for treatment, due to in-state service gaps,” said Kathy F. Szafran, Executive Director, Mountain Health Promise, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. “We’re committed to helping build our in-state capacity here in West Virginia to ensure appropriate services are available in the community and close to home for youth in foster care. Our collaboration with New Hope will help increase access to care and develop a local workforce trained in residential care and the specialized needs of Mountain Health Promise members.”

Operating these kinds of residential treatment programs is extremely challenging and is not for the faint of heart. It requires a commitment to quality, training, trauma-informed care, and constant improvement. Not every provider should try to do this work, but New Hope has been serving hundreds of the country’s most challenging youth for more than three decades.

“We applaud the leaders of DHHR, BSS and Aetna Better Health of West Virginia in their efforts to reform and expand behavioral health services for deserving youth and their families,” said CEO/President, Eric Baumgartner. “We believe New Hope’s experience in providing similar services in other states will result in a successful alliance that delivers transformative care for West Virginians. New Hope is a family-run organization that has been in operation since the 1980’s. One aspect of our mission statement is to serve those whose needs are such that others have been unable to help. We expect to do just that as we bring multiple settings online in West Virginia between 2024-2026.”

New Hope will be employing more than 75 staff across these four programs, including a State Director and a Director of Residential Operations who will be named soon. The challenge is daunting, and it will not be solved overnight, but New Hope and Aetna Better Health of West Virginia are committed to turning the tide and beginning the process of bringing our West Virginia kids back home.