State treatment center celebrates dawn of new era

June 16, 2023
Chad Cardwell, Division of Family and Community Services

Idahoans gathered in Nampa on Wednesday, June 14, to celebrate a multi-phase, multi-tiered project that is improving the system of care at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center, a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities.

Called SWITC, the state-run facility offers crisis care for individuals with complex behavioral needs. Its mission is to “support individuals in crisis to become stable, develop skills, and successfully transition to the community.”

SWITC staff and project managers hosted the Wednesday open house to feature the Developmental Disabilities Crisis System Improvement Project, which includes enhancing community-based services, on-campus services for SWITC residents, razing outdated infrastructure, and building needed new facilities.

When complete, the Crisis System Improvement Project will improve the crisis system of care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly those who also have co-occurring medical conditions or co-occurring mental health conditions.

SWITC residents, department staff, legislators, and advocacy groups attended to learn about project milestones and phases. Many took advantage of the opportunity to tour the campus and see active demolition of old, unused campus buildings.

The four-phase demolition project is projected to be complete in December of this year. Project managers expect ensuing construction to be complete in 2025 or 2026. The Crisis System Improvement Project is focused on building the capacity of community-based providers, creating specialized clinical teams with expertise in complex cases, and implementing a new care model at SWITC.

Specific accomplishments highlighted at the Wednesday open house include:

  • Securing a contract with the National Center for START Services. The contract will help Idaho become certified in a national best-practice crisis prevention and response model.  Learn more about START services here:
  • Full implementation of P.E.R.M.A. at SWITC campus. PERMA is a person-centered, wholistic, positive psychology approach to treatment and well-being. The approach emphasizes positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments—the concepts from which the acronym is derived.
  • Medicaid State Plan Amendments. Idaho Medicaid submitted two state plan amendments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  If approved, the amendments will enable Medicaid to fund services that would support future crisis prevention and response services, both in the community and at SWITC.
  • Demolition of Unused Buildings on SWITC Campus. The most outwardly visible change at SWITC involves demolition of eight buildings on SWITC campus. Buildings slated for demolition are old, unused structures that are damaged beyond repair. An architectural feasibility study determined it would not be cost effective to remodel the buildings. The new care model will feature construction of a new assessment and observation unit and a small number of step-down apartments to assist residents to transition back to community-based living.

The Developmental Disabilities Crisis System Improvement Project is expected to conclude in 2025 or 2026.  Please direct questions about the project to

Chad Cardwell is deputy division administrator for Family and Community Services. He’s worked with DHW for 33 years and has been helping to oversee the Crisis System Improvement Project.

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

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