Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

Orchard Place awarded $250,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines to Develop Youth Mental Health Crisis Services

Orchard Place awarded $250,000 from the Community Found

Orchard Place, a leader in providing mental health services for Iowa's youth, has been awarded $250,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines to fund children's mental health crisis services.

Three years ago, Orchard Place formed a Crisis Planning Stakeholders Group that included more than 35 local agencies.  This group created an outline for a children's mental health crisis response system after determining the potential to save lives, assist families, and save taxpayer dollars.

“The Leadership Grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines supports and validates the work conducted by Orchard Place and our partners,” said Anne Starr, Chief Executive Officer of Orchard Place.  “Thanks to this grant, we continue to move forward, making crisis services a reality for thousands of children in every corner of our community.”

The plan for new crisis services includes a 24-hour hotline and mobile crisis services staffed by mental health professionals. This will enable trained children’s mental health professionals to make home visits to families, children, and youth up to 18 years of age when they are in crisis. 

“This project will lay the foundation for a system of treatment that will transform care for children and families in a mental health crisis,” said Krisi Knous, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. “We are pleased to support Orchard Place in their work to create clear pathways for kids in crisis that will better serve families while also alleviating stress on law enforcement, schools and emergency rooms.”

Few options currently exist for families dealing with a child who is experiencing a mental health crisis.  Families either take their child to hospital emergency rooms or call the police, who usually transport children to the nearest hospital emergency room.  The new project will not be a duplication of existing services.

Parents with children in crisis at the emergency room may have the option of temporarily hospitalizing their child. In most cases, they will be sent home with a list of mental health resources which they must initiate on their own.  This process is challenging to navigate, and wait times to have their child see a mental health professional may take weeks. Scheduling a psychiatric appointment may take months.

Orchard Place has received additional funding for the project, including $50,000 from United Way of Central Iowa and private donations totaling $15,000. Other funding grants will be required, as the yearly estimated cost of the 24-hour crisis line with a response team is estimated to be $1.3 million.  The crisis line will be launched in 2020.

For more information on the Crisis Services project, contact Anne Starr at Orchard Place at

Orchard Place is the oldest locally-based charity in Des Moines, providing mental health treatment and expertise for Iowa's kids. Our inpatient, outpatient, and community programs serve more than 8,500 children annually. Three operating divisions work under the Orchard Place umbrella of services: Child Guidance Center, Orchard Place Campus, PACE Juvenile Center / Integrated Health Program. More information can be found at

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines improves quality of life for all by promoting charitable giving, connecting donors with causes they care about and providing leadership on important community issues…we’re simply better together. The Community Foundation manages assets in excess of $623 million, administers nearly 2,000 charitable giving funds and distributed over $38 million in grants in 2018.