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Published October 23, 2012, 08:49 AM

North Dakota State Hospital to stop treating teenagers

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's state mental hospital in Jamestown is getting out of the business of treating teenagers due to a drop in referrals.

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's state mental hospital in Jamestown is getting out of the business of treating teenagers due to a drop in referrals.

Adolescents with psychological problems or addiction issues now will be treated at private facilities around the state, such as Prairie St. John's in Fargo or the Stadter Center in Grand Forks, State Hospital Superintendent Alex Schweitze told The Forum newspaper. Teens with disabilities will be placed at the state Developmental Center in Grafton. The State Hospital will close its adolescent care facility within six months.

Schweitzer said that when he came to the State Hospital in 1995 it had 35 beds for teens. The facility now sees only about a dozen referrals a year because of a trend toward more community-based care, he said.

"We're just not getting a lot of referrals," he said.

Prairie St. John's learned of the state's decision on teen care this summer, said Business Development Director Dawn Hoffner.

"There are tremendous behavioral health care needs in this state," Hoffner said. "The closer to home (for treatment) the better."

The State Hospital will continue to treat adults with psychological or addiction issues, and also house committed sex offenders. It has 132 beds for adults and 75 beds for sex offenders. The facility also provides addiction counseling for nearly 100 state prison inmates.

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