NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — An important resource for kids and adolescents with special needs in Norfolk is moving, but the new location has some parents concerned.
That’s because the program will now be in the same building as an opioid treatment clinic.
This move affects the child and adolescent program at the Norfolk Community Services Board.
The city tells 10 On Your Side the youth services will be separated on a different floor from the drug treatment clinic.
Still, parents said that’s not comforting.
“I don’t like what I see just passing by,” said one mother.
The mother, who asked not to be identified, said she had no idea her child’s services were moving until we told her.
“I was shocked because it was the first time I was hearing it, and not from the community services board,” she said.
The mother has a son with autism. He’s seen at the Norfolk Community Services Board location off Olney Road. Later this year, the child and adolescent programs will be moved to their building on Tidewater Dr.
A methadone clinic is in the same building.
Methadone is a medication used to treat recovering opioid users.
“It definitely worries me that that’s what’s in that building,” the mother said. “My child has autism. What if he darts out the door before me and runs into someone who has a serious drug problem?”
A city spokeswoman told 10 On Your Side the methadone clinic is completely separate from the rest of the building on the interior and has a separate exterior entrance and exit.
We’re also told the youth programs will be located on the 3rd floor and take the entire space. No adult services will be on the same floor.
Still, the mother said she’s not happy.
“I just don’t feel safe there,” she said. “I saw quite a few unsavory characters kind of loitering around that building a few times.”
The city said all families will receive a more than 30-day notice before the program relocates.
“If I don’t get a good vibe the first appointment, I probably won’t go back,” the mother said.
We asked the city why the program is being relocated but we didn’t get a response to that question in time for our story.
It’s also not clear exactly when the services will begin at the Tidewater location.