Lighthouse rehab center finds state support
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After announcing plans to close earlier this month, one of Kentucky's only drug and alcohol rehab facility for teens is getting a second chance. When the Lighthouse went public with plans to shut down to financial troubles, the state stepped in to help the facility find alternative funding.
WDRB first reported that Seven Counties Services was ending its teen addiction service on June 11. This past Friday, the organization and state officials met to discuss options. The state has allowed the rehabilitation center to remain open for at least 90 more days.
"Ninety days is not to fix the problem. But 90 days to look at different ways where we can turn this around, so that after 90 days if we feel like we have really ridden this ship and we can make this work, we'll do it," said Chief Operating Officer of Seven Counties Services Kelley Gannon.
Over the past two decades, the Lighthouse has served over 600 Kentucky youth.
"Every day was the same: wake up, use, find something else to use, go to sleep and wake up and do it all over again." A Louisville teenager who has declined to share her last name hit rock bottom before she turned 17. At only 16-years-old Jenny had hit rock bottom. "I didn't want to live, I didn't want to exist anymore, but I couldn't bring myself to kill myself."
It took her ten treatment facilities to find purpose again. She says Lighthouse is her last stop. "In three months, I've changed more than I have in three years."
But experiences like Jenny's were put in jeopardy this month when the treatment facility announced that it was $500,000 in the hole, and would have to close its doors. Officials blame stagnant funding and rising costs.
"We have not received a rate increase for this program in 12 years," said Gannon. With the announcement of its closure, the state stepped in. Now the Lighthouse will stay open for at least another 90 days, as the entities work together to find alternative funding.
"They see this as a critical need in the service array in Kentucky, as do we, and they want to work with us," said Gannon.
Employee Eric Sexton says Kentucky needs the Lighthouse, because it is the only state-funded treatment facility of its kind.
"You'd probably have to travel quite a distance to figure out a place that was like this," said Sexton. "We are so determined to love them until they can love themselves."
With a new perspective on life and a high school degree within reach, Jenny is being discharged.
"I can sleep easy knowing that I'm not alone anymore," she said.
And now with the state's help, Lighthouse might be able to reorganize financially and save other teens for decades to come.
"This place has saved my life, and I don't want another teenager to have to die for what I've been given."
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