A proposed grant for New Haven’s Clifford Beers Clinic, the oldest outpatient behavioral health clinic in the United States, may improve the care offered to some of the city’s youngest patients.
The $239,276 renovation grant for the clinic, which specializes in children’s issues, family violence and sexual abuse, was announced by Gov. M. Jodi Rell last Thursday. The grant is expected to be approved at a State Bond Commission meeting on Jan. 27.
“The clinic is currently inundated with referrals and does not have sufficient space to add any more afterschool and extended day groups,” Rell said in a press release. “This money will help renovate the clinic’s lower level so that this facility can provide more and better quality services to greater New Haven residents.”
Rell spokesman Adam Liegeot ’94 said that the proposal has a “99 percent chance” of passing before the bond commission. The governor’s office does not expect any controversy to arise within the commission regarding the amount of money proposed or the organization receiving it, he said.
Liegeot said the proposal is part of Rell’s larger effort to fund clinics that serve children with mental health needs.
“The governor has been addressing the physical space needs and renovations of five clinics throughout the state, including clinics in Waterford, New Haven and New Britain,” he said.
Clifford Beers Clinic Executive Directoar Chet Brodnicki said the news of the grant was welcome after the clinic awaited a decision on the funding for about a year and a half.
“Because of the nature of the therapeutic services we provide, the demand for our services is far exceeding our capacity,” he said. “We need to develop more group therapy programs and facilities to handle the volume.”
Office Supervisor Sandy Astarita, who has been working with the clinic for 29 years, said the clinic will make sure to spend carefully for the benefit of their clients.
“We’re bursting at the seams as a growing clinic that serves many children in the New Haven area, so we’ve always been greatly appreciative of any funding,” she said.
Brodnicki said the proposed amount of money should suffice to renovate the building’s lower level unless the fire marshal requires the clinic to build another entrance, which would require the clinic to request additional funds. He said the funding would also allow the clinic to add at least two new group therapy rooms, three individual therapy rooms and a conference room for clinic staff.
Brodnicki cited the building’s leaking roof and chipping paint, as well as its outdated heating and air conditioning systems, as additional renovations the clinic is currently enacting using block grants and community loan funds. Despite local funding, he said, the clinic may also require extra state funding to complete the repairs in the future.
“With such an old building, there’s always a need for restoration projects,” he said.