April 25, 2023
The Crisis Care Centers initiative will build a network of walk-in centers for people around the region to access mental health care and substance use disorder treatment, build back our recovery bed capacity, and support a strained workforce in this industry.
The Crisis Care Centers Levy will do three things:
1 Create five new regional crisis care centers
Distributed geographically across the county, the centers will provide walk-in access and the potential for short-term stays to help people stabilize, depending on needs, with one center specifically serving youth. Currently there is one 46-bed crisis center for 2.3 million people in our county.
2 Preserve and restore the dramatic loss of residential treatment beds
In 2018, 355 beds providing community-based residential care for people with mental health residential needs existed in King County. Today, only 244 of these beds are available. Currently we've had a loss of one in three of our residential treatment beds in recent years. As of July 2022, people waited an average of 44 days for a mental health residential bed.
3 Grow the behavioral health workforce pipeline
The proposal will create career pathways through apprenticeship programming and access to higher education, credentialing, training, and wrap-around supports. It will also invest in equitable wages for the workforce at crisis care centers. Currently there are historic labor shortages. A 2021 King County survey of member organizations of the King County Integrated Care Network found that job vacancies at community behavioral health agencies were at least double what they were in 2019.
King County develops implementation plan after seeking input and engagement from local communities.
Tax collection begins. Upon adoption of the implementation plan, King County will develop partnerships with communities and providers across the region to fund siting and creation of crisis care centers, mental health residential capacity, and workforce recruitment and retention.
King County receives proposals for two Crisis Care Centers in 2025, one more facility annually in 2026, 2027, and 2028.
First Crisis Care Center opens in late 2026 at the earliest, with the full suite of facilities expected to be operational by 2030.