Hillside has announced plans to end residential treatment services at the agency’s Stillwater campus, located in the Chenango County town of Greene, NY. A transition plan for youth in residence has been established, in consultation with the New York State Office of Mental Health, toward an anticipated closure date of no later than March 31, 2022.
National and state trends in mental health service delivery have led to a shift from residential treatment toward community-based services. This shift has created a reduced need for residential treatment capacity among child-and-family service agencies. In addition to residential treatment, Hillside provides mental health services in community-based settings—schools, family homes, neighborhood offices and other locations, where youth receive intensive treatment.
As part of the transition plan, some Stillwater residential treatment service capacity will be relocated to Hillside’s Finger Lakes Campus in Auburn, NY before March 31. The Auburn site and Hillside’s other campuses in Rochester, Scottsville and Bath, NY, offer capacity to accommodate the current demand for residential treatment for youth. Individualized plans are being developed for the youth currently receiving treatment at the Stillwater campus, in collaboration with family members and county and state partners, to ensure seamless continuity of care as they are discharged or transferred to other residential campuses and programs.
A total of 42 full- and part-time staff are currently employed at the Stillwater campus, including some who are working in community-based programs that will remain in operation. Where possible, impacted staff will be given the option of transferring to new or current Hillside programs.
“Residential treatment will always be an important part of our service array, but the needs of vulnerable youth are increasingly being met by community-based programs that allow children to remain with their families while receiving treatment,” said Maria Cristalli, President and CEO of Hillside. “Ultimately, our commitment to youth and their families will only be strengthened by this decision—which, however difficult, will allow us to focus Hillside’s resources and energies where they can achieve the best possible outcomes for the communities we serve.”
“As the statewide residential capacity for intensive youth treatment continues to shrink, and in partnership with families and other advocates, the NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health (the Coalition) urge the NYS Office of Mental Health and the Governor to preserve the remaining 274 beds in New York,” said Andrea Smyth, President and CEO of the Coalition. “By investing in reimbursement reforms that ensure adequate staffing and enhanced treatment,” said Smyth, “residential treatment will remain available when families and children need that level of care.”
Smyth pointed to the remaining capacity, of which Hillside is the largest provider in the state, as critical to allowing access to the right level of treatment at the right time and necessary to ensure children do not wait needlessly in emergency departments or without care.