The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a funding agreement for a new mental health wing at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the first in-patient facility for children to be built in the county in decades.
The $1.25 million agreement funds services at CHOC’s new wing through June 2020.
The vote coincided with a grand opening ceremony for the facility, which includes 18 beds for patients 3 to 17 years old.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful space,” Jena Jensen of CHOC told the supervisors. “There’s tons of natural light, a beautiful design.”
The facility also includes an area “for parents to stay overnight with their kids,” Jensen said.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who attended the grand opening, praised Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, for their leadership on construction of the facility. He noted how their son, Matthew, suffered from mental health issues and took his own life.
“It’s not only a great milestone for CHOC, but for us,” Spitzer said.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett agreed.
“This is really a milestone for the county and Children’s Hospital,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett recalled how the county granted $7 million to kick off the project.
The 12,000-square-foot wing, which cost $13.2 million to build, is set to open to the public next month. It is the only facility in the county to treat mentally ill patients younger than 12, and officials say the only one in the state to offer all private rooms and accommodations for parents who want to stay overnight with their children.
“For the first time, Orange County children younger than 12 experiencing a mental health crisis will have a place for care close to home,” CHOC President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe said. “The center’s completion is evidence of CHOC’s commitment to ensuring that every Orange County youth receives the mental health care services they need in a safe and healing environment.”
Funding came from philanthropists, the government and grants.
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