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Cottonwood Facility To Close Its Doors

Brittany Myers
The Cottonwood Residential Treatment Center will close at the end of the year.

The Cottonwood Residential Treatment Center in Cape Girardeau is going to close due to budgetary restraints. The announcement came last Tuesday after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon cut or withheld $1.1 billion dollars from the state budget.

Cottonwood is a residential care facility for children with severe behavioral problems. 

As of last Tuesday, the North Sprigg Street facility was taking care of 24 children. The facility offers 34-beds for their patients.

Missouri Department of Public Health, Keith Schafer, says that there are only two state facilities in Missouri where children with a mental illness can go. He said besides Cottonwood, children can seek treatment at Hawthorn Children's Psychiatric Hospital in St. Louis, which is both a hospital and a residential care facility for children.

“There are about 56 large non-profit community agencies that also provide intensive residential treatment for children with severe behavioral problems and they have, in total, about 1,900 beds across the state,” Schafer said.

According to the National Provider Identifier website, npidb.org, nearby non-profit facilities are in Fredericktown, Park Hills, Morehouse, and Ironton.

Missouri Representative Kathy Swan, a Republican who represents Cape Girardeau, indicated that the Missouri Department of Mental Health would have closed Cottonwood regardless of the governor’s withholdings because the center’s revenue at full capacity does not exceed expenses.

“Obviously we are very concerned of the future and the outcome for the children who are served at Cottonwood, and trying to work through some things to see if we can keep the facility open,” Swan said.

Schafer says 95 people will be affected with Cottonwood closing. The facility is expected to stay open throughout the year as children receive their treatment and transfer to another location.

Schafer said an online petition has been starting to help prevent the facility from closing.

Cottonwood is expected to officially close its doors on January 1.