Children's Hospital of Orange County has announced a $5 million gift from Sandy Segerstrom Daniels to help establish a pediatric mental health inpatient center.
The eighteen-bed CHOC Children's Mental Health Inpatient Center will provide mental health care for children between the ages of 3 and 18, as well as specialty programming for children younger than 12. Construction of the facility, which will be located in CHOC's Research Building and have an outdoor area for recreation, is expected to begin this fall and be completed by late 2017. The donation from Daniels, managing partner of real estate company C J Segerstrom & Sons and founder of the Festival of Children Foundation, is the lead gift in CHOC's campaign to raise $11 million for the center's capital and start-up costs and $16 million to endow the program.
According to CHOC, one in five children, or about a hundred and fifty thousand children in Orange County, experience a diagnosable mental health condition during childhood. But there are no psychiatric inpatient beds for patients under the age of 12 in the county and not enough beds for adolescents. The absence of designated space to treat young patients means that children with serious mental health episodes sometimes remain in the ER for days at a time.
"We recognize that pediatric mental illness has become a nationwide crisis and are committed to addressing it," said CHOC president and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe. "CHOC and our partners are excited by the opportunity to create a scalable model for pediatric mental health care that other communities across the country can replicate."