FULLERTON : Hospital Opens Youth Care Center


St. Jude Medical Center this week unveiled its new Youth Care Center, where youngsters will be treated for behavioral disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, learning disabilities and anxiety.

City officials, police and hospital administrators said the center will provide a place where youths, mainly teen-agers, could get help before their problems get out of control.

“We in the city deal with troubled youth oftentimes in the criminal justice system,” City Manager James L. Armstrong said at the center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. He praised the new center, calling it a “prevention business.”


Amy Ruth, the center’s medical director, said: “I think this is a very big asset to the city of Fullerton. We’ll do preventive work to try to decrease problems in the schools. . . . The emphasis is on trying to get to people early on--before they get into situations that will affect them for life.”

The program focuses on treatment of outpatients, including group, family and individual therapy, counseling and education. In addition, troubled adolescents will be taught how to deal with change, communicate with family and peers, resolve conflicts and deal with daily pressures, hospital officials said.

Patients already are being screened and interviewed for the program, which will begin Aug. 2, said Joseph Solomita, clinical coordinator.

He said most patients are being referred to the new center by medical professionals, including psychiatrists and therapists, and schools and churches. He expects some referrals to come from law enforcement agencies as well.