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Supporters Rally Against Cottonwood Closure

Cottonwood Residential Treatment Center is expected to close its doors on December 31st, but people are fighting against it.

Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, plans to close the facility to balance the state's budget. He blames tax cuts in the Republican-led legislature for the decision. Nixon vetoed the tax cut legislation.

However, the fight to save Cottonwood is not over as people show their support for the residential care center.

Shawna LeGrand is the clinical program supervisor at Cottonwood Treatment Center and she said that to save the facility is going to require that five House members do not override the Governor’s veto when it comes to a special session in September.

“If the Governor’s veto is not overridden, then Cottonwood will have a 90% chance of staying open,” explained LeGrand.

An awareness raising event will take place on August 2nd at Lawless Harley Davidson in Scott City from 11 am to 8 pm.

“We are going to be having some speakers at that event, we are going to have a parent who is going to tell us about her story with her child and the help they received at Cottonwood, as well as representatives Holly Rehder and Kathy Swan,” LeGrand said.

She added that beside this family friendly event there is also a petition and a Facebook page to help gather support in favor of Cottonwood. LeGrand said people need to contact their representatives to express their desire as constituents that Cottonwood remains opened and its funding secured.

“We serve children from all over the state of Missouri so it’s imperative that individuals contact their local legislators and encourage them to speak up for children’s mental health and be aware of that September date,”  LeGrand said.

The center treats children with severe behavioral problems and currently have 23 children under its care. Some children have already been discharged to their families as they showed some progress and the facility has been encouraged to get children transferred to Hawthorn Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.


Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.