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VOICE Ministry

Crisis Receiving Center


Early in 2021, VOICE leaders in PWC (Prince William County) began a campaign, together with key allies, to create a Crisis Receiving Center–a facility where police and the wider public can take people suffering from a mental health crisis instead of being warehoused in a hospital emergency room or locked in jail.

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Prince William County – Critical Receiving Cente

Any family that has experienced mental health challenges knows that mental health services are vital, especially during a crisis. Do you know what options are available here in Prince William County? The county recently announced the establishment of a Crisis Receiving Center which will provide a facility where police and the wider public can take people suffering from a mental health crisis instead of being warehoused in a hospital ER or locked in jail.

PWC Crisis Receiving Center Update

February 2024 Update:  

On Wednesday, January 3rd members of the VOICE leadership met virtually with PWC Executive Officer, Christopher Shorter to receive an update construction and opening of the PWC Crisis Receiving Center. The following was learned:

  • PWC BOS has prioritized securing funding for the much-needed youth component of the CRC as their number one appropriation request from the Commonwealth
  • The BOS is committed to find any shortfall in Commonwealth funding locally.
  • Work is schedule to begin on the facility this winter with a completion and opening date in early 2025.

School Board Chairman Babur Lateef said a key priority for the PWC School System was mental health.

Glynn Loope, the county’s legislative liaison, presented the Board of County Supervisors legislative priorities. One of the most pressing legislative priorities outlined by Loope was mental health care.  “Our No. 1 appropriations request is ongoing funding operational support for the Crisis Receiving Center. This will be a request for $2.4 million in ongoing operating expenses,” Loope said.

The Crisis Receiving Center is set to open in late 2024 with full funding and will provide immediate, urgent mental or behavioral health care. The center will have 16 23-hour observation units and 16 crisis residential beds where adults in a mental health crisis who require observation longer than 23-hours can stay.

Youth Behavioral Health Update

November 2023 Update:  

As a result of the commitment made by VA’s Gov. Glen Youngkin at the July 8th Youth Behavioral Health Event in Triangle representatives of VOICE and other advocates will be met with the Governor on Monday, October 2nd in Richmond to present a plan to improve statewide Crisis Care For Youth. Topics discussed include:

  • Ways to improve mobile crisis care
  • Screening for potential mental health issues of children during routine pediatricians visits
  • Developing programs which provide peer-to-peer support for youth experiencing mental health issues

More to come.

PWC Crisis Receiving Center Update

November 2023 Update

From the PWC VOICE meeting with Supervisor Jeanine Lawson on October 25th we obtained the following update:

  • The Invitation for Bid went out in September. The closing day for those bids is this Monday, November 6.
  • Procurement will sift through the bids and determine the best one based on cost and timeline. The target date to take this to the BOCS for approval is November 28. This date is not set in stone due to the heavy number of agenda items between now and the end of the year.
  • Once the contract is awarded, work can start. As this is an inside project, weather should not be a factor on the timeline. Construction would be ongoing for about 12-18 months, with the hope that it would be finished by February of 2025.
  • Once an occupancy permit is issued, the vendor would seek the proper licensing. This should take 90 days or less – May of 2025

At that point, the CRC will be able to accept individuals in need of help

One important part of this project is still unfunded – the operation of the children’s/young adult section on this facility. The PWC Board of Supervisors will be addressing this issue as they develop the 2024-2025 budget.


Youth Behavioral Assembly Supports Expansion of Crisis Receiving Center

July 2023 Update:  On Sunday, July 8th our new pastor, Fr. Jim Scullion, OFM, and 51+ members of SFA Parish joined a diverse crowd of 800+ VOICE leaders and allies from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association packed in the gorgeous sanctuary of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Triangle to meet with Gov. Glenn Youngkin to address the issue of youth behavioral health in Virginia. It was a powerful afternoon, filled with stories of pain and loss, but also hope.

This meeting was a follow-on to the work VOICE has accomplished establishing a regional Crisis Receiving Center in Price William County.

Gov. Youngkin shared details of his administration’s Right Help, Right Now three-year plan for overhauling Virginia’s behavioral health system. The Governor also made commitments to VOICE and our coalition partners to:

  • Consider the coalition’s request to invest $110 million in funding the FY2025 budget for the mental health regional Crisis Receiving Center  in Prince William County and the establishment of similar facilities throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Meet with VOICE and our coalition allies again in September, to consider additional reforms and funding for youth behavioral health that the coalition plans to develop, in the lead-up to the 2024 General Assembly.
  • Keep prioritizing funding support for behavioral health reform as his administration’s number one priority for the rest of his term.

For more information click here.

Background: Genesis of Crisis Receiving Centers

June, 2022 — Any family that has experienced mental health challenges knows that mental health services are needed across a spectrum of capabilities, especially during a crisis. A call to “911” results in a response by police officers. If the family is lucky, they will encounter officers specifically trained for mental health crises. Do you know what happens next? Do you know what options are available to the person, the family or the officer here in Prince William County?

Why it’s important

Not all mental health crises are the same and too often, a call to 911 by a desperate family member results in their loved one interacting with the criminal justice system. It’s important that families and responding officers/health care professionals have a range of options appropriate to the person and his or her mental illness symptoms being presented. Prince William County Police Department has recently implemented “co-responder” units. Now when residents call 911 for a mental health crisis emergency, a mental health professional is partnered with a police officer to respond to the call. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, there is still room for improvement in ensuring that individuals experiencing mental health crisis get medical care, rather than end up engaging with the criminal justice system.

Go Deeper

A portion of Prince William County police officers receive Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to de-escalate encounters with persons in mental health or substance abuse crisis. It serves to reduce resistance during the encounter, in turn reducing injuries for the person in crisis and officers. It also seeks to decrease inappropriate arrests by keeping those in crisis out of the criminal justice system and connecting them with effective assessment and referrals for treatment. However, many individuals that need medical and mental health treatment wind up in the emergency room or jail. Neither of these are appropriate for the care that is necessary to truly help those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Imagine if there were an “urgent care center” for those experiencing difficulties with mental health or substance abuse issues. Such centers exist around the country. They are called Crisis Stabilization Units. When brought to a CSU, individuals can access the services they need to get well. Currently, if there is space in a treatment center for the individual in crisis, the officer is responsible for transportation to the center. If a bed is not available, the individual may need to spend the night in jail while waiting to be transported to receive the help that they need. If Prince William County were to have a Crisis Stabilization Unit, police officers would be able to quickly get individuals in crisis the help they need, when they need it, not hours later. This would allow police officers to focus on policing and mental health professionals to focus on treatment. A CSU also reduces the practice of criminalizing mental health issues.

Currently, VOICE is working with the Prince William County Police Department and the Board of County Supervisors to explore the possibility of building a Crisis Stabilization Unit (Crisis Receiving Center) in the county.


In the three videos below, Lt. Heather Vance of the PWC Police Department, explains the mental health services available through Co-Responder units and the new Crisis Receiving Center.   The 3rd video highlights how this also offers support for Veterans experiencing crisis moments.

VOICE Ministry Contact Form

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