ADRIAN—The start of 1999 ushered in a new era for mental health in Lenawee County. On January 1, most of the services performed by the Lenawee County Community Mental Health Authority were handed over to private providers.

The move brought to fruition a decision made in 1997 by the agency's board, which sought to reduce costs and provide new and improved options for clients and their families. Hope Network of Grand Rapids was chosen for day activity and community integration work. Highfields, Inc. of Onondaga now handles infant mental health and family preservation services. Touchstone Innovare of Grand Rapids provides rehabilitation services. And geriatric nursing home mental health monitoring has been outsourced to Gerontology Network of Grand Rapids.

At any one time, these combined services serve about 1,000 clients. Approximately 80 jobs within the authority were eliminated, but at least some of the people who held them are now working for one of the four private providers.