Children and adolescents who are admitted to the Center are in crisis in their current environment. A child must be prescreened and determined to be in danger by a prescreener from the home community service board (CSB). Typical circumstances requiring psychiatric treatment include: 

  • Threatened or attempted suicide 
  • Aggressive/assaultive behavior 
  • Need for evaluation & medication management

The Center provides a modern, safe environment with four 12-bed living units and adequate education and recreational space on a single-story floor plan.

Fees are based on ability to pay. The DBHDS Reimbursement Office, located on the grounds of Western State Hospital assesses parents/guardians regarding financial arrangements and handles billing for services provided by CCCA.

The Center is affiliated with the University of Virginia-Department of Psychiatric Medicine and provides a training ground for professionals from other colleges and universities in the fields of nursing, social work, psychology, and activities therapy.


To provide high quality acute psychiatric evaluation, crisis stabilization, and intensive short-term treatment that empowers children and their families to make developmentally appropriate choices and that strengthens children�s hope, resilience, and self-esteem.


  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Personal privacy and confidentiality for all children and families
  • Child-centered, family-focused, and community-based treatment
  • Care that is relationship-based, collaborative, and trauma-informed
  • Empowering families and children to make decisions
  • Interdisciplinary planning processes that include children and their families
  • Least restrictive interventions including reducing and eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint
  • Helping children develop and maintain meaningful relationships in the family, school, and community
  • Trauma-informed care perspectives
  • Strengths-based approaches with children, families, and one another
  • Developing a competent and diverse workforce
  • Evidenced-based and promising practices
  • Therapeutic environments that foster normal growth and development
  • A continuum of care that includes the safety net of public acute inpatient services
  • Efficient use of resources


1932 – DeJarnette Sanitorium opened for adult patients, as the special pay unit of Western State Hospital (WSH.) DeJarnette Sanitorium remains self-supporting until 1975.

1946 – By special legislative action, DeJarnette Sanitorium separated from WSH as independent Sanatorium; name changed to DeJarnette State Sanitorium.

1972 – The General Assembly’s Commission on Mental Indigent and Geriatric Patients, or “Hurst” Commission, recommended that DeJarnette Hospital be used to serve “the hundreds of children and youth with severe behavioral disorders.”

1975 – First full year as children’s facility, DeJarnette Center for Human Development receives special General Assembly appropriation to operate 65-bed residential (weekdays only) and 35-day student program.

1980 – The General Assembly’s “Bagley” Commission recommends a task force study of the relocation of DeJarnette Center for Human Development.

1981 – First program for children year-round (7-day week) began; first “emergency ” admissions.

1982 – Adolescent Unit (15-bed adolescent unit and 22 staff) from WSH transferred to DeJarnette Center.

1985 – DeJ receives first Joint Commission accreditation. Pre-planning study for new facility begun.

1989 – 13-bed unit for children with autistic disorders transferred to Southeastern Virginia Training Center; DeJ beds converted to 14 additional adolescent beds.

1990 – Co-location of support services with WSH as result of economic forces; reduction of 29 support services staff and 22% of budget.

1991 – DeJarnette Center began participating in Medicaid EPSDT program.

1992 – Bond referendum approves funding for replacement facility, $7.2 million.

1994 – DeJarnette Center receives JCAHO “Accreditation with Commendation.”

1996 – Relocated to new 48-bed facility.

1997 – DeJarnette Center again receives JCAHO “Accreditation with Commendation” from on-site survey in new building.

1999 – With the closure of Central State Hospital’s (CSH) Adolescent Unit, DeJ begins serving adolescents and their families who previously would have received MH services from CSH.

2000 – DeJarnette Center surveyed and accredited by JCAHO

2001 – The State Board of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services votes and approves the name change to the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents.

2003 – Commonwealth Center surveyed and accredited by JCAHO.