The State of Idaho is in the process of developing a new children’s mental health system of care called YES – Youth Empowerment Services. The YES system will provide for a full range of alternatives for families who need help for their child with serious emotional disturbance (SED). It will be strengths-based and family-centered, and it will incorporate a team approach that focuses on providing individualized care for children.

The central feature of the new system is coordination of care. Department of Health & Welfare, Department of Education, and Department of Juvenile Corrections are working together to build the necessary components of the system so that each agency will be able to communicate and coordinate their agency’s work with the other agencies’ work so that all services are focused on the same goals for the child and the family.

This new system of care is a direct result of the Jeff D. class action lawsuit and the resulting Settlement Agreement. The lawsuit began in 1980 when children were co-mingled with adults at State Hospital South (SHS). There was a lack of appropriate treatment services and educational services at SHS, as well as a lack of community-based mental health services across Idaho.

After many hearings over 30 years, the Court encouraged a mediation process to occur in order to identify solutions. Mediation occurred from September, 2013 through December, 2014. Key community stakeholders representing parents, advocates, private providers, representatives from the parties in the lawsuit (agencies named above) and attorneys representing the Class Members participated in these negotiations. The outcome of the process was the development of the Jeff D. Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is a high-level description of what the state agrees to do to have the lawsuit dismissed. It also describes the services that will be put into place under the new system of care. Following the court approval of the Settlement Agreement, the agency partners worked together to create the Idaho Implementation Plan, the framework for the new system of care.

You can review the Settlement Agreement and the Idaho Implementation Plan by clicking here.