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Family Reacts to Mental Facility's Impending Closure

MARION, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Families with mentally ill patients at the Abbe Center in Marion are about to lose the facility.

The center closes at the end of September, meaning big changes for families.

Dianne Williams and her partner Stefani Ridenour  say the Abbe Center has created a change for the better in their 22 year old son who's been mentally ill since he was nine years old. It's why they say they would like to see it remain open-somehow.

"You could tell he still was talking to the voices, the voices were still talking for him too, Williams said.

She calls him her gulf war baby--Collin--the son she had while in the military.

"He's a very special young man and with him having this mental illness maybe through Collin we can save Iowa, she said.

She's talking about saving those in Iowa with mental illness.

That's because the abbe center, which provides long-term care for about 77 adults, including Collin,  is set to close one month from now.

For Dianne it's devastating news.

For the first time in a year he told me loved me and he knew who I was, and they are going to take that away from him, she said.

Officials at the center say a $1.4 million reduction in county funding in this year is partly to blame for the closure, but it's more than that.

"The larger part are budget shortfalls at the county level and a major shift to Medicaid, said Abbe Center presiden, Dan Stellner.

Stellner says the center is committed to finding a place for all its clients before closing the doors, but some may have to go far from the corridor to get that help.

For Dianne and her partner Stefani that's not acceptable.

I'd like to see him out in the community but he's not ready for that yet. You gotta have the abbe center, said Ridenour.

Collin does not have a new facility yet, but his parents are hoping that wherever that is, its close to home.

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