Indian Health Service finishes youth treatment center in California

The Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center is located in Hemet, California. Photo by Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service has completed work on a regional youth treatment center in California.

The Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet will provide alcohol and drug abuse treatment to youth ages 12 to 17, up to 32 patients at a time. Youth will have access to a wide range of services, including mental health, education and medical and dental care.

"This is part of the continuing IHS commitment to provide quality behavioral health care to this age group," Mary Smith, the leader of the agency, said in a press release. "IHS is working to make sure that Native youth have a facility that will not only help them address substance abuse problems but also offer a program that will provide culturally appropriate rehabilitation and education."

The IHS has already begun recruiting staff in anticipation of opening the 35,500 square-foot facility later this year. About 70 full-time employees will be hired, according to the agency.

In total, the IHS plans to open 13 regional treatment centers across Indian Country, with one in Davis, in northern California, expected to be ready by 2018. Facilities in other regions are in the works.

In related news, the IHS awarded $767,000 to seven tribes and tribal organizations for self-governance planning and negotiation. The list of grantees follows:
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona - $120,000
Ak-Chin Indian Community, Arizona - $120,000
White Earth Nation, Minnesota - $120,000
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Oregon - $120,000
Pinoleville Pomo Nation, California - $119,328
Lake County Tribal Health Consortium, California - $120,000
Ponca Tribe, Oklahoma - $48,000
The Tribal Self-Governance Program at the IHS includes 354 of the 567 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., according to the agency.

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