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Staff training starts at Central Mississippi Residential Center

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 10, 2003
Orientation for the newest employees of Central Mississippi Residential Center started this month and the first 48 residential clients are expected to be in place by Nov. 1.
About 70 employees began training on Oct. 1. They will be followed by other new staff members, according to Traci Thomas, spokesman for the center.
The center expects to eventually employ about 350 people in the fields of medical care; educational, vocational and recreational services; individual and group therapy; and administrative and physical support of the center.
Under the direction of Dr. Mark H. Yeager, the center's mission is to create services in the least restrictive settings possible for Mississippians with mental health needs to help them realize their full potential.
Located in Newton on the campus of the former Clarke College, which was operated by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, the property was bought by the state for $1 million in 1997.
An open house and dedication ceremony was held at the center last month. The center offers specialized treatment for adults with long-term, serious mental illness, including people who were discharged or transferred from the state psychiatric hospitals.
When fully operational the program, which is based on a bio-psychosocial rehabilitation model, is expected to include 168 beds, 144 of them in on-campus group homes and 24 in supervised apartments. There are plans for three off-campus group homes that would provide another 18 beds.
At the dedication ceremony on, four of the buildings at the center were named for area legislators: The Terry C. Burton Welcome Center, named for Sen. Terry C. Burton, R-Newton; the Raymond Comans Activities Building, named for former Rep. Raymond Comans of Decatur; the Robert J. Moody Program Building, named for Rep. Robert J. "Bobby" Moody, D-Louisville; and the Johnny W. Stringer Administration Building, named for Rep. Johnny W. Stringer, D-Montrose.
Since 2000, the center has operated an adult day services program called "Footprints" near its main campus. The program is for people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia. The next phase of development at the center is a crisis intervention center. Thomas said that is expected to be in place sometime next year.