The YSS Crisis Stabilization Program is for those times when a youth (ages 12-18) is experiencing an acute mental health, behavioral health, or substance use issue that requires more than a visit to the pediatrician, but less than a trip to the emergency room.

Please note: If someone is experiencing suicidal or homicidal ideation, they should be immediately taken to the hospital.

counselor ames

Supervised Care

Crisis stabilization provides short-term care with 24-hour supervision in a residential setting without the added trauma of hospitalization.

The program offers intervention and support for both your family and your child to stabilize the current situation and plan for the future.

Our approach is trauma-informed, strength-based, and family centered from referral to discharge.

This program is not available to youth who are involved with the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Juvenile Court System.

YSS's short-term Crisis Stabilization Program supports your entire family by assessing your child's situation, providing professional services, creating a plan to address your family's needs, and working to establish a happier home.

How to Get Started

Intake Process:

  • Call us and let us know you're interested in the Crisis Stabilization Program.
    • Central Iowa: 515-233-2330
    • North Iowa: 641-423-7362
  • Staff will conduct a brief screening of your child to determine program fit.
  • If your teenager is identified as a candidate for the program, staff will work with the mental health region to approve eligibility.
  • Once eligibility is confirmed, your child will be admitted into the program and services will begin.

What to Expect:

  • Initial crisis screening upon referral
  • 24-hour residential shelter placement for youth for 1-14 days
  • Assessment completed by a licensed professional to determine service recommendations for your child
  • Family team meeting to establish goals for ongoing supports, as well as treatment recommendations for your teen and your family. Services may include a combination of mental health, behavioral health, substance use, medication management, and family therapy.
  • Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) to address unhealthy skills and improve how your and family function together as a unit
  • Discharge planning, including recommendations for services in your home community
child counseling services

Bobby's Story

Bobby was struggling to manage his mental health when he entered the YSS Crisis Stabilization Program in Mason City. After being hospitalized for suicidal ideation and combative behaviors, his parents were worried for their safety.

Bobby lived in our shelter while he and his family worked with staff to manage his mental health needs. Bobby improved both his social and communication skills while learning to express his feelings with words rather than violence.

With Bobby temporarily away, his parents worked on their parenting skills and developed strategies for Bobby’s return home. Bobby completed the program and continued to receive outpatient therapy through YSS. Since his discharge, Bobby has not been suicidal or aggressive toward his family members—and they all have better hope for the future.


Central Iowa

703 Burnett Avenue
Ames, Iowa

Counties served: Audubon, Boone, Clark, Dallas, Decatur, Franklin, Greene, Guthrie, Hardin, Hamilton, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Story, Warren, and Wayne

Northern Iowa

50 N. Eisenhower Avenue
Mason City, Iowa

Counties served: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Grundy, Hancock, Howard, Humboldt, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Tama, Webster, Winneshiek, and Wright