King County Crisis Care Centers initiative

Sunday, June 23, 2024

King County Executive 
Dow Constantine
King County Executive Dow Constantine’s plan to implement the Crisis Care Centers initiative was unanimously approved by the King County Council, ushering in one of the largest investments in the region’s behavioral health system in decades.

King County is investing more than $1 billion over the next nine years to expand access to crisis care services, creating five new walk-in facilities where people experiencing a behavioral health crisis can receive help. Together, the centers will aim to serve as many as 70,000 people annually.

“We’re facing a behavioral health crisis and there is an urgent, growing need for care. That’s why at King County, we’re building a behavioral health system that is connected, accessible, and culturally responsive — providing the help people need and deserve,” said Executive Constantine. 
“In partnership with councilmembers, cities, providers, workers, and community members, we’re putting this plan in action to open the first crisis care center as soon as possible.”

The implementation plan authorizes $57 million for early investments this year to boost the county’s existing crisis services ahead of the centers opening, including:
  • Expanding the number of 24/7 mobile crisis response teams for adults and youth from 20 to 32, investing $3 million to increase coverage across the county to help reach more people.
  • Directing $15 million in funding to up to three residential treatment facilities to preserve the current supply of community residential treatment beds and prevent further loss.
  • Building on Crisis Connections’ work to embed crisis counselors in 911 call centers in South King County by investing $500,000 to expand the program to additional locations across the county.
  • Supporting recently announced actions to stop the surge of opioid overdose deaths.

King County Councilmember
Girmay Zahilay
“Two years ago, we brought together partners from around King County and put forward a proposal to transform the way we help people in mental health and addiction crisis,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, lead sponsor of the levy legislation. 
“Today, we cleared the final milestone before that proposal can become a reality: the Council has adopted the Executive’s detailed plan for how nearly $1.2 billion will be spent to build crisis care centers around the region, expand mental health beds, and invest in our healthcare workforce. This is a powerful moment in our region’s history and will give a lot of people hope for recovery.”

The King County Department of Community and Human Services, DCHS, will begin implementing the early investments. To kick off the process of determining locations for the first three crisis care centers, DCHS will release the first request for proposals. All five crisis care centers are planned to be fully operational by 2030.

“The Crisis Care Centers initiative is a direct response to the continued closures and reduced capacity in the face of growing need for behavioral health services. At a time when we are losing beds, treatment options, and critical workforce, every action counts. The early strategies this year help us bring more workers into the field to respond to the call when someone is at their most vulnerable.” said DCHS Director Kelly Rider. 
“Informed by the experiences of people with lived experience accessing behavioral health services, workers providing behavioral healthcare, behavioral health and community-based organizations, and other community members, King County is investing in the most urgently needed services and transforming an inadequate system to restore pathways to recovery.”


View the video on You Tube

Three Priorities of the Crisis Care Centers Initiative
  1. Create five crisis care centers: Distributed geographically across the county, the centers will provide walk-in access for mental health and substance use services and short-term stays to help people recover, with one center specifically serving youth.
  2. Preserve existing residential treatment beds and create 115 new beds: Make capital facility investments to build back capacity lost in recent years.
  3. Invest in the behavioral health workforce: Create career pathways through apprenticeship programs and access to higher education, credentialing, training, and wrap-around support. It will also invest in training programs and worker incentives to help recruit the crisis care centers workforce.

King County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Division launched the Workforce Development Learning Collaborative in May to share best practices, resources, and investments to strengthen the behavioral health workforce. 

Starting in 2024, community behavioral health workforce investments will total $7.5 million to:
  • Create new training pathways for licensed providers.
  • Grow the apprenticeship program led by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Training Fund, creating a pathway for more than 100 new apprenticeships.
  • Sustain and expand labor-management workforce development partnerships.
  • Begin training the future crisis centers workforce.

King County will continue to partner with state agencies and legislators to address key priorities across the behavioral health continuum. Partnership at the state and local level is essential to increase foundational Medicaid funding as well as capital and crisis services investments that match the community’s needs. 

King County’s robust community-based behavioral health provider network will also play a lead role in future crisis care centers around the region.

The Initiative is funded by the voter approved Crisis Care Centers Levy.


Anonymous,  June 24, 2024 at 10:29 AM  

fingers crossed some of the money actually benefits the end users and doesn't just create more taxpayer bureaucracy

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