Governor, Lt. Governor Announce $16 Million Investment for Vulnerable Delawareans

Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) on Tuesday announced a $16 million investment to renovate and remodel Wharton Hall on the DSCYF campus.

The new facilities will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA was championed in Congress by members of Delaware’s congressional delegation – Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021.

“Our Children’s Department showed up every day during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve our community. These ARPA investments will help us support the work these public servants do every day and address a gap in behavioral health services,” said Governor Carney. “Thank you to Senator Carper, Senator Coons and Representative Blunt Rochester for their advocacy efforts on the American Rescue Plan Act that will help Delaware recover from this pandemic and make our community stronger.”

The goal of this investment is to add more in-state crisis beds and create a state-of-the-art, trauma-informed behavioral health diagnostic center to meet the complex needs of adolescents.

“Investing in our children means we’re investing in our future,” said Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Thanks to funds from the American Rescue Plan, which we voted to pass in March of last year, the State of Delaware will be able to completely renovate Wharton Hall on the Delaware Youth and Family Center campus. With these improvements, Wharton Hall will once again be able to provide much-needed support for Delaware children and their families.”

“Our children are faced with challenges every single day that affect their mental and physical health. Since the pandemic, mental health related visits for teenagers has increased 31 percent and suspected suicide attempts has increased 39 percent,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, PhD, RNC, FAAN. “Ensuring we have a top-tier equitable system in place to support the behavioral health needs of our youth, especially when they are most vulnerable and in crisis, is one of the most critical investments we can make. These enhancements, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will help us deliver quality care to make Delaware families stronger and healthier. I am grateful for the leadership of our Governor and congressional delegation.”

“One in three high school students are reporting that they feel persistently sad and hopeless,” said Secretary of DSCYF Josette Manning. “This adolescent diagnosis center and expansion of crisis beds will allow us to provide better services to youth and adolescents while we keep them closer to their homes and closer to their communities, with targeted interventions to help stabilize them so that, ideally, they can return to their homes and their communities sooner. Thank you to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Federal Delegation, and the General Assembly for their support.”

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