New VTCC FAQ
Construction Project for the New Virginia Treatment Center for Children
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Virginia Treatment Center for Children?
Established in 1956 by the General Assembly, the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) has been serving the psychiatric needs of children aged 3-17 for more than fifty years. Originally established as a state facility, VTCC became the pediatric division of VCU Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry in 1991, and one of the elements of the comprehensive array of services offered by Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. VTCC has a three-part mission:
- Clinical care – providing inpatient and outpatient treatment for children and adolescents, with a wide array of behavioral health issues, and their families
- Research – creating better ways to prevent and treat mental illnesses
- Teaching – training tomorrow's mental health professionals—including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, counselors
2. Why is a new facility needed?
A recent report by Voices for Virginia's Children shows that between 85,000 and 104,000 children and adolescents in the Commonwealth are in need of mental health treatment. At times, children who require inpatient care—those with the most severe problems—cannot be admitted due to a shortage of beds. The new facility will provide additional beds for inpatient care as well as expanded outpatient capacity.
The current VTCC facility, located on VCU Medical Center's downtown campus, was built more than 50 years ago and is out-of-date, inadequate and lacking in "green space." The new facility will not only be safe and appropriate, it also will be reflective of an accessible, family-friendly state-of-the-art therapeutic environment for children and families.
3. Who will this facility serve?
VTCC provides services for children and adolescents with mental health issues ranging from depression and ADD/ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and behavioral problems at home and school. For the year ending June 30, 2014, VTCC had approximately 950 inpatient admissions for children between the ages of 3 and 17, and our clinicians had more than 7,600 outpatient visits. Children served by VTCC come from across Virginia—with more than one-half coming from outside the greater Richmond area. With telemedicine programs our physicians reach pediatricians as far as Southwest Virginia.
4. What services and programs will be offered?
VTCC offers crisis stabilization, evaluation and short-term treatment on an inpatient basis. Outpatient services include evaluation, medication management and therapy for the children with mental health issues and their families. The new facility will allow VTCC to develop new programs and services to better meet the needs of Virginia's families.
5. Where will the new VTCC be located?
The new VTCC facility is the Brook Road campus of Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, with an entrance off of Sherwood Avenue. This site would provide families with easy access to both inpatient and outpatient services. Placing VTCC on the same campus with other CHoR services is consistent with our philosophy of delivering integrated care for the whole child.
6. What will the new facility look like?
The 119,000 sq. foot facility exterior will be rendered in a simple palette of stone, wood, glass consistent with the Italianate Design of the existing Children's Hospital building. CANNON DESIGN, architects for the project brought the park-like setting elements of "green space" and light into the building with a number of interior and exterior courtyards, large windows allowing natural light, and public as well as secure areas. With a partial second floor to house clinical and administrative offices and research, the entire first floor is devoted to clinical and training areas. Special attention is paid to ensuring that patient areas are accessible and age-specific, responding to both the physical and emotional aspects of patient comfort and their families. Areas such as training rooms and the half-court gym will also be accessible to the public for special trainings and events.
7. How does the new facility for VTCC fit in VCU Medical Center's plans for a freestanding children's hospital?
VCU is committed to addressing the full spectrum of healthcare needs for children—including mental health—and to the continued development of the Brook Road campus. VCU is continuing to participate with others to study and evaluate the feasibility of building a freestanding children's hospital. The new VTCC facility and a possible children's hospital are completely distinct projects that will move forward on separate timelines.
8. What is the timeline for the new facility?
VCU Health System's Certificate of Public Need (COPN) application was approved in January 2014. Groundbreaking will take place on December 11, 2014. It is anticipated that construction will be completed in Fall/Winter 2017. VTCC will continue to offer services in their current building throughout the construction period
9. Will there be a traffic impact in the neighborhood?
A Traffic Impact Analysis completed in 2013 reveals that there will be no noticeable increase in vehicular traffic due to the addition of the new VTCC on the CHoR Brook Road Campus. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was also completed and the construction contractor, Balfour Beatty is committed to reducing the effects on the neighborhood throughout the construction—such as dust and erosion.
An Executive Summary of the Traffic Impact Analysis for the new VTCC can be found here.
10. Will there be a positive impact on our neighborhood?
For nearly 100 years, the Northside community has embraced and supported the Children's Hospital and its mission—and we look forward to many more years of being a "good neighbor." In that spirit, we look forward to working with the neighborhood associations and other organizations seeking out opportunities for collaboration, partnership and community improvements. Hospitals provide stability, security, and economic growth for neighborhoods.
11. Will there be any safety concerns?
VTCC has an extraordinary safety record for caring for children for more than 50 years and sets the standard for care nationally with its policies, procedures and model of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS). VTCC is not a resident facility. It is a short-term, acute care hospital—with an average length of stay less than five days. While in the hospital, children remain within the facility in a secure area and always under the close supervision of professional mental health staff. Additionally, the new building will include additional security rounds and increased lighting on the campus.
12. What will happen to the old VTCC facility?
The property where the current VTCC facility is located will most likely be used for services that need to be on the campus of VCU Medical Center.
13. What can I do to support the new VTCC?
There are many ways to get involved—and become part of VTCC's caring community for children:
- Advocate - Speak out and help us dispel the stigma associated with mental illness
- Volunteer - Join the VTCC Advisory Council or become a friend of VTCC
- Donate - There are many needs above and beyond the bricks and mortar of a new VTCC facility, including staffing, research and direct support for families with limited resources
If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact:
Alexandria "Sandy" Lewis, EdD