Counseling Center gets new home - Daily Courier

Sunday, Mar 30th 2014

Kairos specializes in treating youth

Kairos, a Grants Pass- based treatment center that works with at-risk youth, is inviting the public to an open house Tuesday to visit its new $4.5 million Children’s Mental Health Campus and learn about its programs.

Formerly known as the Southern Oregon Adolescent Study and Treatment Center, Kairos is growing with levels of stress on modern families.  The new name, adopted in 2012, is Greek for “the moment when change is possible.”

“Even families that are really, really trying to do well, and not using drugs, have a significant level of stress,” Kairos CEO Bob Lieberman says. “They’re really struggling. Their primary thing is, where am I going to get food tonight? They’re not attending to the needs of their children.”

Tuesday’s open house will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Com- munity Services Building on the new campus near Three Rivers Medical Center at 1750 Nebraska Ave., with tours, introductions to staff and refreshments. Still under construction next-door is a psychiatric residential facility, the centerpiece in this project.

The nonprofit started out 37 years ago in the Merlin area, helping about 15 severely traumatized boys annually. Today, that number stands at about 200 of both genders, 4 to 24 years old, at facilities in Grants Pass, Merlin, North Bend and Eugene, and soon in Medford. The organization gets most of its clients from other mental health and child welfare programs, and uses a combination of on-site, in-home and foster care.

A construction loan from Evergreen Federal Bank and private and corporate donations are financing the new campus in Grants Pass.

Also forthcoming were grants of $275,000 from the Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation, $250,000 from the Murdock Charitable Trust in Vancouver, Wash., and $350,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust in Portland.

“Having a new psychiatric care facility in the region will enable more families to participate in therapy, receive sup- port more readily, and ease the transition back to home,” Meyer   Trust   CEO   Doug Stamm told the Daily Courier in a written statement. “The location in Grants Pass, coupled with the strength of the program, made it a strong candidate for Meyer Memorial Trust grant support.” 

Kairos bought the 2-acre site from the city of Grants Pass in 2012. After figuring a $325,000 credit for creating jobs and subtracting $185,000 for removal of concrete fill and other debris, the price was $140,000. 

Richard Ward Associates of Grants Pass is building the campus. Aside from administration, school-community and other programs, the completed 7,300- square-foot Community Services Building is being used for foster- care training, a key strategy of Kairos. 

According to Lieberman, Kairos offers the most intense level of foster care in Southern Oregon, helping youths who otherwise would have been housed at a treatment center. In most cases, foster care works better because the child stays on the outside and develops social skills.

Still under construction next- door is Kairos’ new, 12,000- square-foot psychiatric residential facility. Lieberman said the building will be unique for its locked crisis unit. 

“It’s not a detention,” he says. “It will be able to take young people who otherwise today are being admitted into hospitals all over the state. They’re showing up at the ER,” which is not equipped for their extreme mental health needs. 

There will be no white coats in Kairos’ 15-bed facility. “Yes, the doors do lock. It’s not a clank. They’re not cells; they’re bedrooms. It will be comfortably furnished and the staff will be talking to them softly and kindly, with great respect,” Lieberman says.  

Some youths will be able to move out of the locked area after a day or two. Others will go the other way if they lose control.  

The psychiatric facility is scheduled for completion in mid- summer. Systemwide, Kairos will have a total of 37 beds of its own.

All told, Kairos has operating costs of about $9 million annually, funded through contracts with the state and other agencies, and employs 176 people, including 136 in the Grants Pass area. About nine more local jobs will be added by September, and 10 in Medford. 

Kairos looks to hire people who have been in the system themselves as troubled youths or family to them. 

“What the research is beginning to show is that peer support is very, very effective for people who have struggled with mental health challenges, as we know from the AA world,” Lieberman says. 

According to him, about 70 percent of Kairos youths are able to return home. 

“It’s pretty unusual for a county the size of Josephine to have the kind of mental health capacity and support, between Options (for Southern Oregon) and Family Solutions and us,” he says. “We can’t do this alone.”

 OPEN HOUSE SET

Kairos has scheduled an open house Tuesday in the Community Services Building on its new Children’s Mental Health Campus at 1750 Nebraska Ave. in Grants Pass. The event will be from 4 to 6 p.m. and include tours, introductions to staff and refreshments.

The $4.5 million campus project also includes a new, 15-bed psychiatric residential facility with a crisis unit, due for completion in mid- summer. For information, call Kairos at 541-956-4943.