Focus Point School opens officiallyy at Crownsville

June 27, 1993|By Diedre Nerreau McCabe | Diedre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

State officials celebrated Friday the official opening of Focus Point School, a residential program for severely disturbed adolescents, after the completion of the final phase of renovations of three buildings at Crownsville Hospital Center to house the school.

Focus Point began accepting residents in June 1992, but delayed its ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication a year, until the former superintendent's mansion could be turned into a halfway house, said Martin E. Salisbury, principal of the school.

The school operates from three buildings: a residential facility with 22 beds; the school; and the halfway house, a 10-bed facility that will serve as a transition for students who have made significant progress but are not ready to be released into the community.

Most of the teen-agers referred to Focus Point suffer from severe depression or manic-depressive illness, or have difficulty controlling aggression, Mr. Salisbury said. Many have drug- or alcohol-abuse problems.

Dr. Jerry Kowalewski, the program's director, said many of the teen-agers have nowhere else to turn.

The Focus Point program treats youths 13 to 17 with a team of counselors, teachers, nurses and administrators that meets regularly to coordinate therapy.

Mr. Salisbury said several of the original residents are preparing to return to the community, where he hopes they can go back to school or hold jobs. "I'd say we've had some success with patients that is pretty much unheard of with this type of population," he said.

Focus Point currently has 15 residents. Officials plan to increase that number when the state Mental Hygiene Administration provides additional money for staffing.

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