From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Youth in crisis will soon have places to go in Idaho

March 3, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Four new youth crisis centers in Idaho will make it easier and faster for young Idahoans to get help when they’re experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

In December, the Department of Health and Welfare and the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections finished awarding grant funding to four applicants to operate four youth behavioral health community crisis centers. Locations will be Caldwell, Boise, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls and should open later this year.

They will operate every day all year to provide evaluation, intervention, and referrals for youth experiencing a crisis due to serious mental illness or substance use disorder. We expect the centers will reduce the rate of youth hospitalization and incarceration in Idaho.

Youth can stay at one of the centers for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes. They will receive a place to rest, food, and services from mental health professionals to stabilize the crisis, develop a plan of care, and have access to:

  • 24-hour crisis hotline
  • Medical screening
  • Assessment
  • Crisis intervention services
  • Community-based referrals

The initiative to establish youth community crisis centers was a recommendation from the Idaho Behavioral Health Council (IBHC), which was created by the Governor, the Legislature and the Idaho Supreme Court.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little adopted the IBHC’s recommendation as part of his Leading Idaho plan, which expanded behavioral health resources by $50 million. In 2022, the Legislature allocated a one-time general fund appropriation of $4.42 million to support development of the youth community crisis centers.

While this is an accomplishment for elected and appointed officials, the real winners will be Idaho’s youth in crisis. By giving young people places to go for help, we hope to see a better outcomes for youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

Have a safe and healthy weekend.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at  

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