Intermountain - Caring Solutions, Strong Families, Healthy Communities

Intermountain launches a new program for children in crisis in the Flathead Valley

Helena–On the dawn of its centennial celebration, Intermountain, a nationally-recognized children’s mental health agency, is extending its mission to serve children and families in crisis. The Intermountain board of directors is pleased to announce the addition of a crisis care resource located in the Flathead Valley. The new facility will provide comprehensive services for children birth to 12 years old in immediate need of a safe haven.

In an effort to broaden Intermountain’s long-term commitment to Montana children and families, assessment began in 2006 to study the mental health needs for children and families and to review existing services in the Flathead Valley.

“The lack of resources for young children in crisis places tremendous strain on the Department of Family Services, law enforcement, the courts and a host of community professionals” said Jim FitzGerald, Intermountain executive director. “Currently the Flathead area Department of Family Services lacks 24/7 access to a professional resource for these young children.”

Intermountain will coordinate all services with community providers including the Department of Family Services, schools, therapists, physicians, law enforcement and other mental health agencies. This level of multi-disciplinary cooperation will facilitate true healing for the children and their families. The opportunity to reach out and support area mental health agencies in the new venture will be an important part of the program’s success.

Berni McDonald, a long-time Flathead Valley resident, will serve as the facility’s program manager. McDonald will spearhead Intermountain’s vision of providing nurturing, emergency shelter for young children, utilizing her 15 years of experience working in human services.
McDonald’s personal experiences of fostering children since 1993, adopting two children and parenting six biological children of her own will be invaluable to her new Intermountain role.

“I understand that children facing the crisis of leaving their families aren’t thinking ‘now the bad is all over,’ they are thinking ‘what is next?’ said McDonald, “We are committed to making sure that their fear and anxiety is met with a comprehensive environment that is
safe, nurturing and therapeutic.”

The facility will operate seven days a week, 24 hours per day and the location is confidential to ensure the children’s safety. It is projected opening is in November, 2008.

Intermountain has served children from the Flathead Valley area for years through their Partnership for Children Program in Missoula and their Residential Program in Helena. In the past four years, Intermountain has hosted five trainings in Kalispell training nearly 300
families and professionals.

For many years, Intermountain has enjoyed board representation and financial support from the Flathead Valley. In support of Intermountain, the second annual “Calling All Angels Gala” will be held on Saturday, December 13, 2008, at the Hilton Garden Inn. For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to make a reservation, contact Amanda Creamer at 888-261-6014 or at amandac@intermountain.org.

Intermountain is a nationally-recognized Montana non-profit specializing in therapeutic environments for children under severe emotional distress. They integrate relationship-based treatment and sound clinical discipline to assure a permanent family for every child.

Founded in Helena, the agency has served Montana children and families since 1909.

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