State Officials Say Bixby Group Home Shut Down After Several Problems Discovered

Monday, November 18th 2019, 11:12 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

We have learned new details about why a Bixby group home that helps teenage girls with mental health issues shut down. 

State officials said the group home had a "multitude" of errors before its closure. Now parents said the shutdown is part of a bigger issue about the lack of mental health resources in Oklahoma. 

The Bethesda Residential Treatment Center in Bixby served girls between the ages of 12 to 18 dealing with mental and behavioral health problems.

Molly Blish adopted her 12-year-old two and a half years ago and says she thought the home would be her daughter's saving grace.

"She comes with a lot of trauma," said Blish. "Seven years of foster care and not a steady foster home."

Her daughter lived at Bethesda for about six weeks but last Thursday, the staff called Blish late at night and told her the home had closed and she needed to pick up her daughter immediately. 

"I drove up that night. The whole process was a shock from the beginning," Blish said. 

Parent company Bethesda Family Services Foundation told us last week a lack of state funding forced them to shut down the Bixby group home. But the Oklahoma Health Care Authority told us in a statement that they found a "multitude of serious errors" during their latest review, but couldn't go into detail. 

Blish said treatment center staff were good to her daughter, but there were issues.

"In the six weeks she was there, it took four weeks to start therapy."

But Blish said the bigger problem is the lack of mental health resources available in Oklahoma. She said many similar group homes would only admit youth with suicidal thoughts.

"Trying to find a place to go to seek the help she needs, there's just not enough places in Oklahoma," she said. 

Blish said she wants to see her daughter continue to deal with her past trauma and get the help she needs. 

"I have a daughter who needs help, and that's okay."

Blish is now caring for her daughter at home while she considers treatment options. The health care authority said it only heard about the shut down through another state agency, not Bethesda. 

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