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Children's Farm Home opens second upgraded child psychiatric facility
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Children's Farm Home opens second upgraded child psychiatric facility

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Trillium Family Services has opened the newest addition to its Corvallis campus of psychiatric treatment facilities for Oregon children.

Located at the Children’s Farm Home on Highway 20, the new Redwood building is the second Corvallis location of three new construction projects by Trillium — the third of which will likely be built on the agency’s Portland campus.

“The new building is designed to be a combination of secure and comfortable, which is a very hard balance to strike,” wrote senior vice president of residential operations Jessie Eagan in an email to Mid-Valley Media. “We want our programs to feel home-like and safe for the youth who come to live with us, even if it is for a short time.”

In the past, Eagan said, the Oregon State Hospital in Salem provided psychiatric care for all ages, but the Oregon Health Authority decided two decades ago that kids should have separate services. Trillium is the only agency in the state that facilitates that need. Along with the Sequoia, the first of the new buildings, the Redwood will offer secure inpatient care for adolescents ages 12 to 18 who require an Oregon State Hospital level of care.

All clients, Eagan added, have access to master’s degree-level therapists and psychiatrists, have 24-hour nursing care, therapy groups, equine therapy and a therapeutic garden, among other activities. The Redwood can hold 12 clients, which is the same amount as was held in the older building it replaced.

“We used the same construction and architecture teams, so we were able to keep most of the plans the same, although we did have multiple 'lessons learned' discussions, now that we’ve been living and working in Sequoia and know what worked and didn’t,” Eagan said. “We worked closely with clients and families to talk about their needs, as well as with the staff working in the building, and changed a few elements to improve the design.”

Fortis Construction and TVA Architects headed the Redwood project, according to Eagan. The buildings being replaced were erected as long ago as the 1930s, when mental health treatment took much longer and was all but a different world.

“Mental health has changed a lot over the past century,” Eagan said, “and we try to have residential interventions be one within a continuum of care that ideally helps support children and families to live together in their own homes, so residential care is now only for acute mental health crisis and is designed to be much shorter.”

Eagan said the building design includes nature “visible through every window,” increased natural light, noise dampening and heated floors.

“We’ve tried to think of the things that would make adolescents happier in the space, and we do as much as we can to help our clients be happy and healthy during their time with us,” she said.

The happiness factor had to be delicately balanced with security, Eagan added.

“We also serve some very distressed people, and children who have experienced traumatic events often lash out in dangerous ways before they learn more positive ways to cope with their emotions,” she said. “So our spaces have to be secure and somewhat indestructible, so we have tough materials, locked doors that require staff to open them, school within the building for clients who are not safe to leave at that time, and special materials to make it difficult for children to harm themselves.”

The total cost of the Redwood facility was $6.3 million. Trillium was granted $3 million through Oregon lottery funds, according to Eagan, and the remaining costs were mostly raised through donations.

After delays from wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, clients finally moved into the Redwood this week. Trillium will be holding a virtual open house on Monday at 4 p.m. for those interested in taking a tour of the facility. For more information, visit avstream.me/trilliumopenhouse.

Nia Tariq can be reached at 541-812-6091. Follow her on Twitter @NiaTariq.

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