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New WLRC superintendent plans to upgrade facility

Aug 6, 2015 By Christina George, Staff Writer

Allen Parks also anticipates developing a dual-diagnosis program for clients who are disabled and mentally ill, as well as a geriatrics-skilled facility for elderly clients.

Allen Parks originally had planned to be a musician.

But after realizing it would be difficult to find a job in that line of work, he decided to look at his options. The veer from the path led him to psychology.

Decades later, Parks finds himself as the superintendent of the Wyoming Life Resource Center --a position he's been in since late April.

"This job, and the things that are going to happen here in the next couple of years, is exciting for someone like me," Parks said. "It's a great opportunity."

Parks replaced Mike Aurand, who has served as interim superintendent since December, according to a news release issued by the Wyoming Department of Health. Aurand will return to his role as visions program coordinator at WLRC.

WLRC is a 142-bed licensed and certified intermediate care facility for adults with developmental disabilities and acquired injuries, according to WDH, and it is one of five state health care facilities the department operates.

Parks said his goals with the new position align with what a state task force is discussing, which include possible construction and renovation plans.

"We need to update our facilities," Parks said. "Some of these facilities are 50 years old."

He anticipates WLRC to develop a dual-diagnosis program for clients who are disabled and mentally ill, as well as a geriatrics-skilled facility for elderly clients.

Another goal is to make WLRC a "center of excellence."

"We want to make great programs for the clients, their families and their guardians," he added.

Parks said his favorite part about the job is the staff.

"It's a good staff here. The people who work here are incredibly dedicated, and they have big hearts, and you can feel it," he said.

Parks has more than 25 years of experience in the mental health, disabilities and human services field. His most recent position was chief operating officer of Dorothea Dix State Psychiatric Hospital in Bangor, Maine, according to WDH. He also has served as the administrator of mental health and developmental disabilities for the Iowa State Department of Human Services and as the human services director for Brown County in Wisconsin.

Parks earned his undergraduate degree in psychology and counseling from Calvin College, a doctorate in psychology from Boston College and a master's degree in public health from Harvard University.

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