KidsPeace Wants to Offer Adult Outpatient Therapy
KidsPeace Family Center on Broadway has asked the Salisbury Planning Commission for permission to expand its use to allow teens who age out of the system and other adults to be able to get outpatient therapy at the facility.
KidsPeace, which has historically limited its programs and services to children, wants to include adult outpatient therapy at its KidsPeace Family Center in Salisbury Township.
KidsPeace's center at 1650 Broadway, which formerly served as a residential facility, was consolidated several years ago and currently provides only outpatient services to children under 18 with emotional or behavioral issues and children and teens with autism.
Patrick Slattery, director of business development at KidsPeace, recently asked the Planning Commission to change the zoning to permit the new use.
Under the expanded use, Slattery said, teens who age out of the KidsPeace system at 21 could continue to get help, and adults who are unrelated to current KidsPeace clients could get outpatient therapy.
Several commissioners pressed Slattery on the kind of mental health issues that might be treated at the center. Services for convicted adult sex offenders at the center would be prohibited, according to a document KidsPeace submitted to the commission.
KidsPeace's strategic plan, adopted in 2009, said the organization intended to "explore target markets to include adult services" and to convert underused spaces.
The KidsPeace Family Center, which consists of eight buildings on seven acres, housed less than 100 children at its highest in its residential program until they were moved to KidsPeace's Orchard Hills campus, according to Slattery. Today, the center serves about 200 children on an outpatient basis.
"We need to do everything to keep the lights on," Slattery said.
Planning Commissioner Richard Schreiter asked what KidsPeace plans to do with the facility over the next 10 years.
"What you're doing today is not what you're going to be doing 10 years from now," Schreiter said.
"We need to look at the whole picture," he said.
Chairman Charles Beck said changing the zoning "opens the door" to other uses and by other owners if KidsPeace sells the property.
Township Engineer Dave Tettemer said a more transient outpatient population could create more traffic in the area and require the need for more parking on the campus.
Commissioner Stephen McKitish said he wanted a written narrative of the kinds of services KidsPeace intends to offer "so we can do the right thing for all parties."
MicKitish was concerned they were requesting targeted zoning and about setting a precedent.
"We have to move very carefully and not prevent the right things from happening or for opening Pandora's box. There are a lot more ways we can screw this up," McKitish said.
This is an edited version of the original story.