The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Youth crisis stabilization center facilities begin renovations despite no guaranteed funding

The project requires over $1 million in updates to newly purchased property to bring it up to Iowa code.
Sara Stumpff
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors sit at a panel during a meeting at the Johnson County Administration Building in Iowa City on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.

Renovations to the youth crisis stabilization center facilities at the previous Kinderfarm Preschool property began earlier this month, despite not yet receiving additional funding from the Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region or the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

At the supervisors’ Sept. 6 work session, the Youth Crisis Stabilization and Emergency Housing Project requested over $1 million for updates to its newly purchased facility.

Because of a potential conflict with Iowa’s constitution, the supervisors were unable to provide funding at that time, although they expressed their continued support for the program once a solution was found.

Although funding is up in the air, the program began renovations earlier this month.

Upon completion of renovations, the program will provide temporary emergency shelter for youths in crisis, intervention services, and treatment planning.

The center will be built on the property of the former Kinderfarm Preschool. The residential component of the program is projected to provide eight beds.

United Action for Youth and CommUnity Crisis Services will provide 24-hour staffing at the facility. Incoming youths will receive a mental health evaluation and then a treatment plan.

“Our goal is to create a homey, trauma-informed culture … providing the resources they need,” Executive Director of United Action for Youth Talia Meidlinger said.

According to the Iowa administrative code, crisis stabilization services provide support for voluntary individuals in a safe environment that is “less intensive and restrictive than an inpatient hospital.”

Youth shelter and crisis services are required in the state of Iowa, and since the closure of Johnson County’s youth shelter on July 1, the county has been without a center or crisis services.

The Eastern Central Region originally allocated $250,000 to support renovations, although the estimated cost for renovations was much higher.

Updates to the facilities will bring it up to Iowa code. Renovations include installing an overhead sprinkler system, updating the heating, ventilation, septic, and air conditioning system, adding staff offices, and removing walls.

The East Central Region did not provide the additional funding upon request because the budget for this year is already set, East Central Region CEO Mae Hingtgen said.

The Eastern Central Region also set aside $150,000 to provide free services for the youth.

Hingtgen also said the region has seen an increase in the need for preventative care, as well as care provided by residential crisis stabilization centers.

GuideLink’s quarterly report at the July 26 work session revealed 148 cases of crisis stabilization in April and June 2023.

The report showed the difference in patients in Johnson County compared to other counties in the region. Of the counties that provide mental health services, Johnson County reported treating 104 patients in April and June of 2023. Linn County had 21 patients, and Iowa County treated five.

RELATED: JoCo Board of Supervisors to defer vote on $1 million in funding youth crisis services

Board of Supervisors Office Executive Director Guillermo Morales said the youth crisis stabilization center will reinstate a support system and provide critical services for youths.

Johnson County will be second in the Eastern Central Region to offer a residential crisis stabilization center. Tanager Place, a youth crisis stabilization center in Linn County, was the first facility in the region.

Both facilities are the result of the Eastern Central Region’s two requests for proposal. Tanager Place responded to the first request sent in April 2022, and CommUnity Crisis Services responded to the second request in March 2023.

“In the region in general, we are certainly appreciative of our partners who are willing to come to the table,” Hingtgen said.

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Sara Stumpff
Sara Stumpff, Photojournalist
Sara is a third year UI student who transfered from Kirkwood. She is a "non traditional" student who will hopefully obtain her BFA in Photography and BA in Spanish.