The Indian Health Service/California Area office (IHS/CAO) and the 104 federally-recognized tribes of California will hold a grand opening of the Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center (Desert Sage), located at 39990 Faure Road in Hemet, on March 1, 2017. A traditional dedication will take place from 10:00 – 11:30 AM and the grand opening ceremony will begin at 1:00 PM.

You can make a reservation for the event here.

Currently, most of California’s AI/AN youth who receive residential chemical dependency treatment are sent out-of-state to non-IHS/non-tribal facilities. These facilities have been unable to address unique cultural needs, offer effective family therapy, or meet the growing need in California. Desert Sage will treat approximately 100 youth per year and will expand and complement existing IHS-funded, Tribally managed behavioral health services in California.

The 35,355 square foot youth regional treatment center (YRTC) will offer basic medical care, mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, structured chemical dependency programs, individual/group/family therapy, credentialed education, vocational and life-skills training, traditional/spiritual healing, and cultural activities.

Desert Sage was designed for sustainability and is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Interior features include classrooms, computer lab, art room, commercial kitchen, dining area, cultural space, exam rooms, employee offices, five family suites, indoor half-court gymnasium, and weight room. Exterior features include an outdoor basketball court, walking/exercise trails, and an outdoor water feature/amphitheater. The residential unit is divided into four separate quadrants and is designed to house 16 male and 16 female residents, age 12-17.

Desert Sage will offer a credentialed education program with on-site instruction. Curriculums will be tailored to each individual’s needs. Credits will be transferred to the youth’s local school upon completion of the program.

Aftercare is one of the most important and often the most challenging aspect of recovery. It is important that once youth return to their communities, they stay engaged in the recovery process. Because of limited resources, the IHS cannot extend rehabilitation/aftercare services beyond the facility boundaries. Intake/aftercare coordinators will work with families and local personnel on the discharge planning process as soon as the youth is admitted to Desert Sage.

This new facility will help raise the current and future health status of AI/AN youth in California and we are excited for its completion.