Bixby Youth Treatment Center Closes Without Warning

Friday, November 15th 2019, 9:39 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Several families are left wondering where to turn for help, after a youth treatment center in Bixby closed without warning. The shutdown was also a surprise for workers who are now left without jobs.

It's a center for girls between the ages of 12-18 who need mental health help.

A 14-year-old girl who lived at the home for months said it was a rough time, but the worst part came Thursday night when she and the 15 other girls were told they had to leave.

Dacia Wall says her 14-year-old daughter, Nikia, moved into the Bethesda Residential Treatment Center in Bixby a few months ago, after Nikia spoke with her school counselors.

"We were sent to Bethesda simply on the basis - it's more behavioral than mental, which is what we needed," Wall said.

"I was in there to get my help," said Nikia. "I felt my mental state wasn't good enough to be with my family."

Nikia said she liked the staff, but said she had concerns about the punishments, which she said included leaving girls outside, even in freezing conditions.

She also said she didn't get weekly therapy sessions staff promised.

"It's been issue after issue," Wall said.

But nothing was worse than Thursday night, when Wall got a call that she had to come pick up her daughter because the home was shutting down without warning.

"I was woke up in the middle of a dead sleep," Wall said. "I asked my mom what's going on, she said they shut it down. Everyone was unemployed."

Pennsylvania-based non-profit Bethesda Family Service Foundation runs the treatment center under contract through the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Bethesda President Dominic Herbst said they were aware of allegations against them but says there were no official findings. He said they were forced to stop services because of a lack of funding, after years of negotiations with the state.

"Our children are going to get help, to get the care that they need," Wall said.

"We're already going through enough trauma," Nikia said.

Wall said her daughter still needs mental health treatment, but they don't know where to go next.

The nonprofit says they did everything it could and always wanted the best for their residents.