Invest in a Brighter Future for All
Stand for the greatest resource our community has: our youth.
Community support of mental health has a cascade of impacts socially and culturally. Youth and families with positive mental health are more engaged in society at large. Healthy community members contribute more robustly to the workforce and economy, and achieve more throughout their lifetimes. Investing in mental health benefits virtually every facet of our community — today and into the future.
Revitalizing therapeutic spaces to enhance their safety, accessibility, and utility will empower Teton Youth & Family Services to support more children and families when they need it most.
Van Vleck Group Home
Red Top Meadows
Vote “FOR” on SPET Proposition #2 — Teton Youth & Family Services Facility Improvements
This $2 million measure will facilitate designing, constructing, upgrading, remodeling, and improving Teton Youth & Family Services’ existing facilities at Hirschfield Center, Van Vleck Group Home, and Red Top Meadows.
TYFS serve the
It is clear from the recent Community Health Needs Assessment, conducted by the Teton County Health Department, that our community considers mental health and well-being a top priority. TYFS delivers critical support to youth and families in concert with many other health and human service providers.
During the pandemic it became evident that while other providers were serving clients virtually, TYFS was considered an “essential service” and remained fully operational to provide lifesaving care to youth and families in need. Additionally, TYFS offers an emergency suicide holding facility that provides an critically important service to our community — especially as Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the nation.
The services at TYFS cost a fraction of Detention Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities or Out-of-State Facilities. The residential programs at TYFS save an estimated $4.3 million a year in youth staying in less expensive and least restrictive care. With 85% of youth in these programs not going on to higher levels of care, the avoided costs are tremendous, and grow even larger when we consider the immeasurable value of families reunifying and the youth becoming a contributing member of the community.
According to the National Safety Council: “Over 40% of Americans report increases in mental distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving employers with their own crises, resulting in increased absenteeism, negative impacts on productivity and profits, and an increase in health care costs. Encouragingly, employers that support mental health see a return of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment… When employees receive effective treatment for mental distress, organizations realize reduced total medical costs, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and decreased disability costs.”
85% of TYFS’ annual operating budget of $3.4 million is dedicated to staff salaries — the professionals delivering direct services. We fundraise 40% of our annual budget or $1.3 million, receive 19% in Local Government Support and 31% in state government support, with the remaining 10% covered in Federal Grants and earned income. The facility improvements included in the SPET Proposition ensure the safety of facilities above and beyond our annual operating needs.
In other words, our community is stronger, happier, and saves significant amounts of money when we invest in mental health as early as possible.
be used for?
TYFS has been serving the valley for 45 years offering services that directly and positively change the trajectory of suffering children and families.
Over the years, TYFS facilities have aged and need upgrading. Additionally, in recent years, best practices for housing troubled youth have advanced significantly to ensure child safety. Hirschfield Center for Children, Van Vleck Group Home, and Red Top Meadows are known throughout the community and state for their comprehensive programing to heal cycles of abuse, neglect, behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues.
This funding — Matched 5:1 with $10 million in private philanthropic contributions — will facilitate much-needed upgrades that will not only make therapeutic spaces significantly safer for both students and staff, but will also rejuvenate spaces to maximize the impact of time spent within TYFS programming.
The Hirschfield Center for Children, originally constructed in 2002, includes facilities for forensic interviews, family advocacy and therapy, and the Court Diversion Program. The planned remodel will add a welcome and waiting area, staff offices, a board room, and student study area. Ultimately, this will make the space more efficient and more reflective of the accredited high-quality services TYFS offers.
The Van Vleck House is a residential facility for young adults. Currently, the structure — which was built in 1967 and last remodeled in the mid-1980s — is far below the industry standards for safe and therapeutic spaces of this type. The renovation will include state-of-the-art safety features, including a safe space for youth at risk of self-harm, a community room, 7 double-occupancy bedrooms, improved kitchen facility, staff offices and respite space, and a communal multi-use room. Van Vleck House will offer the ideal balance of structure, safety, and warmth — a framework fundamental to healing.
Moreover, the reinvigoration of these spaces will decrease our organization’s carbon footprint through carefully-considered energy efficiency options to integrate into construction programming, fuel efficient or electric vehicle consideration, expanded recycling programs, and the utilization of carbon-sensitive materials during each phase.
TYFS’ SPET ballot item is a request for $2 million — the most conservative proposition on the 2022 ballot, and a mere 8.3% of the largest proposition and 0.12% of the overall proposed SPET budget of $167,000,000.
The SPET funds will be matched by an additional $3 million in public funding and $10 million in privately raised funds to complete the entire scope of work. To date we have $6 million in private funds committed and have an application for ARPA Health and Human Service Infrastructure funds submitted and being reviewed by the State Lands and Investment Board. The intent of the SPET is to continue with the public-private partnership to ensure vulnerable populations of our community are safe.
Towns and Counties in Wyoming are charged with “protecting the health, safety and welfare of our community.” As such, Wyoming and therefore Towns and Counties engage in public-private partnerships to provide services that government often provides in other states such as Group Homes or Crisis Shelters. Without our partnership, the Town and County would be facing purchasing, operating, and building programming to meet the needs that TYFS is currently meeting to protect the health, safety and welfare of our community based on state statute.
SPET stands for special purpose excise tax, which is a voter-approved one-cent sales tax in Teton County on most goods and services excluding unprepared foods, like groceries. This sales tax is derived from a sixth penny tax on each dollar spent in the county — over 50% of which comes from the millions of visitors that come to Jackson Hole each year.
Voting for SPET initiatives will not increase sales tax in Teton County; the penny tax is already in place, and your vote on the ballot will not affect that. Voting against all SPET proposals will not remove the tax. Rather, this is your opportunity to decide where and how these funds will be utilized in our community.
Visit the Town of Jackson’s website to learn more about SPET.
The November ballot includes a list of proposed SPET initiatives, and voters have the opportunity to vote in for or against each initiative.
First, ensure that you are registered to vote in Teton County. You can register at the Teton County Clerk’s Office (200 S. Willow St.) or via mail.
There are three easy ways to vote in Teton County.
Early voting is already open. Downstairs in the Teton County Clerk’s Office is an Absentee polling site. It will be open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 7. It will not be open on November 8.
If you would prefer to vote by mail, call the Clerk’s office at 307-733-4430 or request a ballot online.
On election day, November 8, you can vote at any of the valley’s five Vote Centers between 7 am and 7 pm. The list of all locations is available here.
To vote in favor of Proposition #2 — Teton Youth & Family Services Facility Improvements — simply fill in the bubble that says “FOR the Proposition.”
There are some exceptionally helpful actions you can take to help Proposition #2 — Teton Youth & Family Services Facility Improvements receive the support we need to succeed.
- Vote! Whether you vote early, absentee, or on Election Day, be sure to make your voice heard and vote FOR Proposition #2.
- Rally your friends and family to vote, too. Let them know why you plan to vote FOR Proposition #2, and encourage them to support this critical community service.
- Let the community hear why you’re supporting Proposition #2. Share information on social media, or write a letter to the editor.
- Make a contribution to the Building Brighter Futures campaign now, and invest in providing excellent resources and boundless hope to children and families.