News Article Details

$50 million CHKD mental health center gets Virginia's OK

Virginian-Pilot - 7/24/2018

July 24--NORFOLK -- The state has given its stamp of approval for Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters to build a $50 million psychiatric center to be completed as early as 2022.

The mental health facility will be constructed off Brambleton Avenue on the medical campus shared by CHKD, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. It will house 48 inpatient beds for children and offer other mental health treatments and programs by day.

The hospital had sought state approval for the project, which it sees as an expansion of its mental health footprint in Hampton Roads. It's now been granted a "certificate of public need," according to a Tuesday news release.

CHKD also plans to add a dozen beds in its current hospital for inpatient mental health treatment of children with both mental and physical health diagnoses, according to the news release.

The expansion will treat children from ages 2 to 18 and employ 250 providers and staff.

Jim Dahling, CHKD's president and CEO, said in the statement that the approval "sets our course for years to come," adding that it's "one of the most important challenges our organization has ever undertaken."

In March, he told The Virginian-Pilot that "everyone from parents to social workers to government agencies to school systems are telling us that mental health services for children are the No. 1 priority."

Up to five children a day arrive in CHKD's emergency room needing a mental health evaluation, a number that has increased by 40 percent during the past four years, according to Pilot archives. The hospital also receives up to 20 mental health referrals each day from other care providers.

CHKD will now turn to planning, funding and constructing the center. Officials aim to open the 12 new beds at the current hospital in two years, and finish building the new facility in four years.

The King's Daughters, founding organization of CHKD, has pledged $1 million to the mental health initiative. The health system will be talking with government officials, community leaders and philanthropic organizations to raise other funds for the effort.

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(c)2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

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