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A Look At Idaho's Low Long-Term Mental Health Capacity For Kids

Virus Outbreak
Christophe Ena/AP
Teddy bears are placed on the bed of a child at the pediatric unit of the Robert Debre hospital, in Paris, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. A year into the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of children are coming apart at the seams, their mental health shredded by the traumas of deaths, sickness and job losses in their families, the disruptions of lockdowns and curfews, and a deluge of anxieties poisoning their fragile young minds. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Idaho has one of the highest instances of childhood trauma in the U.S. In fact, research shows that children in only five other states have higher rates of trauma.

If a child needs long term care to help them heal from their trauma, many — up to 120 per year — need to be sent to out of state facilities to get the help they need.

That’s because the Gem State doesn’t have enough space in its facilities to take care of these kids.

Idaho Matters talks with several leaders trying to fix this problem: CEO of the Idaho Youth Ranch Scott Curtis, Medical Director at St. Luke’s Children's Hospital Dr. Kenny Bramwell, Executive Director of the Idaho Federation of Families Ruth York and philanthropist Duane Stueckle.

Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.