GOSHEN — Oaklawn has relocated its residential program from Goshen to Mishawaka in a merger with the Children’s Campus that consolidates the two entities’ mental health services for children and adolescents.
The move was official Monday, July 1, as combined operations began that day.
Matt Lentsch, director of organizational advancement and foundation for Oaklawn, said Oaklawn actually took over the reins of The Children’s Campus on Jan. 1 and has been working at consolidating the children and adolescent residential programs ever since.
Moving the residential program to Mishawaka made sense, Lentsch added, because The Children’s Campus was built specifically as a residential facility for children.
Lentsch said that in recent years, the number of children and adolescents in residence numbered approximately 50. With the consolidation of the two children’s residence programs that number is now around 88.
He added that the Mishawaka campus could accommodate more than 100 children, so the agency will be able to accept more children should the need arise.
The move satisfies, at least temporarily, several of Oaklawn’s other needs.
“We have brought together two great child and adolescent residential programs,” he explained, which will allow for more efficient service and treatment to children within the program.
With all children’s residency services now in one central location, Lentsch said, the facility will offer one of the best psychiatrist-to-patient ratios in the state.
Moving residential services has also allowed Oaklawn to expand its inpatient and outpatient services at its Goshen campus.
Part of the reasoning behind relocating the residential program was simply to meet the increased demand of programs and services.
Lentsch noted there has been a significant increase in outpatient referrals recently, which created spacing issues at the Goshen facility. Shifting residential services has given the agency more room here in Goshen, at least for now.
Lentsch said they had not heard any opposition to the move from local families whose children are now in residence on the Mishawaka campus.
Transportation for visits would be the obvious potential concern, but Lentsch said the agency is willing to work with families in order for them to visit their children.
“We really value the family’s involvement,” he explained. “We’ll work with families to overcome any barriers.”
Lentsch said what the move really boils down to, however, is the quality of care. “This way, we’re going to be able to offer the most consistent care,” he said, whether that be for the residential program now based in Mishawaka or at the expanded inpatient and outpatient services that remain in Goshen.