WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday to urge UMass Memorial Community Healthlink to reverse its decision to close a local treatment facility for youth ages 4 to 18 exhibiting serious mental health symptoms.
Community Healthlink announced they would be closing the Burncoat Family Center — a residential treatment center located at 227 Burncoat St — in May due to lack of clients and revenue, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
The resolution by the City Council was issued by Councilor-at-Large Khrystian E. King, who urged Community Healthlink to “work with employees and community advocates to keep the Burncoat Family Center open.”
King spoke at length at Tuesday’s meeting.
King said, “As a front line DCF social worker, I see firsthand every day the challenges facing many young people in our community. For years, the Burncoat Family Center has been a safe place providing high-quality mental health care for vulnerable children in our community who are dealing with a life-changing crisis.”
The Burncoat Family Center can house up to 13 children and is focused on short-term rehabilitation.
“Community Healthlink hasn’t provided adequate justification for this sudden closure, or clearly explained why the Burncoat Family Center needs to close when the need for the services it provides is so great. We need more access to mental health services for our youth, not less. It’s time for Community Healthlink to reconsider their rushed decision and work with workers and the community to preserve the critical services at the Burncoat Center,” King added.
According to Tracy Ashworth, who has worked at the Center for four years, “Community Healthlink failed to honor its commitment to vulnerable children and families in Central Mass when it, with zero input from staff, announced the sudden closing of the Burncoat Family Center ‘Community-Based Acute Treatment’ (CBAT) program.”