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The Leo A. Hoffmann Center has served adolescent boys with problematic sexual behavior for over 40 years. The center is transitioning to a psychiatric residential treatment facility, in order to serve a different group of male youth with more complex mental health concerns.

The Leo A. Hoffmann Center has been officially certified and licensed as a psychiatric residential treatment facility by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to provide psychiatric services and stabilization for adolescent boys on its residential campus in St. Peter.

Hoffmann Center, a private nonprofit, has been treating troubled youth as a children’s residential facility for more than 40 years, earning a solid reputation focusing on adolescent boys with problematic sexual behavior. The nonprofit center also provides outpatient psychiatric services to all ages, with offices in St. Peter, Waseca, New Ulm and Mankato. St. Peter is home to its only in-patient campus.

The new certification and licensure, which occurred in late September, will allow (and require) the center to change its focus. It will no longer treat kids with just emotional difficulties (specifically those of a sexual nature), and will instead work with kids with “more complex” mental health issues. Leaders said the patients may be more aggressive and their cases more severe.

Executive Director Gene Taylor and Clinical Director Tom Kelly said they are excited about the conversion of the St. Peter program into this much-needed higher level of psychiatric services.

“I think that we’re excited to work with other kids,” Taylor said. “Excited about the challenge of working with different types of clients with different mental health issues.”

He added, “I believe the clinical team is very committed to helping kids and young adults.”

This change will allow Hoffmann Center to offer a wider range of diagnostic, behavioral, and stabilization services to better serve the needs of clients, counties, and treatment providers in the region and throughout the state. The move will give clients and their families greater access to a higher level of needed psychiatric care closer to home. Only one other provider in Minnesota is certified by DHS as a psychiatric resident treatment facility.

“There are several programs looking at starting eventually (in Minnesota),” Taylor said. “It’s very time consuming; it requires a lot of dedication, new rules, compliance, new staff. Because of the labor out there, it’s difficult to find the amount of staff needed to facilitate these kids.”

He noted that a metro area psychiatric residential treatment facility recently closed down, because it couldn’t make it work with patient costs. That means the St. Peter location is alone with just one other facility, in Duluth, offering these services. In addition to filling a gap, the Hoffmann Center sees a potential increase in clientele with this change.

“Our referral base was not as strong as we’d like it to be with the clientele we’re working with,” Taylor said. “These were some of the kids that we’re being sent out of state, so the state is trying to keep them in the state to have more involvement with family.”

Hoffmann Center has been working toward the change for more than a year, including a campus expansion with a new cottage that increases bed capacity from 32 to 40, along with the addition of a Wellness Center and gymnasium building. Staffing has grown significantly in recent months to make medical and therapeutic care available to clients 24/7.

PRTF services are provided under the direction of a psychiatrist, with the help of a multi-disciplinary team. The PRTF program offers clients a new setting in which they can focus on challenges, mental health issues, and developing an alternative outlook with positive interventions. Families will continue to be an important part of the treatment process.

According to Taylor, the staff to client ratio will need to increase from around 1:4-1:6 right now to 1:3 going forward. This is because of the level of care needed for their new clientele.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8579 or follow him on Twitter @EditorPhilipWeyhe. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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