Rome, Ga. -- The board of directors of Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael “Scott” Merritt as president and chief executive officer. Merritt replaces Chuck Troutman who retired on February 24, 2016.
Merritt earned his Masters in counseling and human development from the University of Georgia and is a licensed professional counselor and masters addiction counselor by trade. He has dedicated the past 23 years of his life to working with youth and families in need of intensive services.
After beginning his career as therapist at the Devereux Georgia Treatment Network, Merritt developed a reputation for being a strong advocate for clients and families and was then promoted to the director of campus operations. He increased both internal and external customer service and the number of programs offered on campus. The census went from a low of 85 to 104. Significantly reducing the use of seclusion and restraints by increasing the resources available to staff, he was promoted to campus administrator.
Merritt eventually left Devereux to become Universal Health Services first CEO-in-training executive. In this position, he served as the chief operating officer of the Peachford Behavioral Health Hospital, the state’s largest private psychiatric hospital. Although an excellent opportunity, it reminded Merritt of his desire to serve youth and their families. As a result, he became the executive director of the KidsPeace National Centers of Georgia in 2004 while the facility was still under construction.
At KidsPeace, Merritt achieved an average utilization rate of 97 percent, receiving the Joint Commissions Gold Seal of Approval in 2012 and 2015. He participated in a $2.2 million capital campaign that supported the construction of a gymnasium, swimming pool, additional classrooms, library, computer lab and training room. Knowing that a client’s progress academically while in residential is one of the strongest indicators of success after discharge, he is very proud of the fact that KidsPeace Georgia’s school was recognized by the State for “Excellence in the Education of Students with Disabilities" in 2008 & 2009 and a Reward School in 2014 and nationally recognized by the US News & World Report 2015 Best High Schools.
A related-agency of the North Georgia Conference, Murphy-Harpst is an independent not-for-profit organization committed to meeting the needs of abused and neglected young people through residential treatment, placements in specialized foster care, and community programs that serve at-risk children and their families. For more information visit www.murphyharpst.org.