LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s largest community mental health organization is planning to merge with a city’s children’s residential treatment program in an effort to end a cycle of disruption and institutional care for many abused and neglected children.

The Courier Journal reports Uspiritus and Louisville-based Centerstone announced their intent to merge on Wednesday. Uspiritus operates the Bellewood and Brooklawn centers for children with emotional and behavioral problems.

Their presidents will tackle the growing number of children in state care who cycle through foster homes, residential centers and psychiatric hospitals.

The proposed merger comes as the state Department for Community Based Services struggles with the rising tide of children entering state care because of neglect or abuse. The agency also faces a shortage of workers and chronic underfunding.

Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com