By Alton Porter
The Serenity Place, Inc., staff is continuing to make progress in moving youth to the residential treatment facility campus in Crockett following the opening of the campus for residents on Tuesday, July 19.
And Chris Brown, the facility's co-owner and chief operating officer, is pleased with the progress made leading up to and following opening day on the refurbished and upgraded campus of the former Crockett State School.
Asked on opening day how he felt about the occasion, Brown said, "Excited. Restless last night. Anxious this morning, because we were moving the kids from Houston. These kids were being held in Houston (at Serenity Place, Inc.'s, facility there) with the intent that they were coming to Crockett.
Twenty-eight youth were moved on opening day. The Courier incorrectly reported in Thursday's edition that another 50 would be relocated here by this weekend. Instead, Brown said another 22 would be moved here by this weekend, bringing the total to 50 youth relocated here by today.
"There will be kids coming from Fort Worth, Cleburne, Marble Falls and from counties west of Fort Worth," Brown said. "They'll be moving here. These are all CPS (Texas Child Protective Services) kids" who have been abused or neglected in some way.
Brown said CPS issued Serenity Place, Inc., a license permitting it to operate the facility on Monday, and his staff moved the first set of children to the Crockett facility on opening day Tuesday.
Brown explained, "I've got this group this week, and then it'll slow down probably until Thursday of next week. And then, we'll start to get some more. So, by the end of the month, we'll be at 50.
"I expect by October, it will be at 115, with another hundred to come probably at the start of the (new) year. We have two other dorms that we have to open. They will be ready in the next 45 days. Then, we'll be able to add the other hundred."
He added, "the goal was to try to get some (children moved into the facility), stabilize the campus, get everything moving, make sure we're doing a good job with them and add some more. We're kinda doing it in stages."
As for employment, Brown said, "We've employed about 38 staff. We have a training class starting next week. Then, there will be another training class from which we hope to get another 45 or so people" as employees.
"It's been a labor of love," Brown said about preparations leading up to the opening of the facility. "We're finally here. The kids are here. And we're here to stay."