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Native American Youth Rehab Center Planned Near Davis

The Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center for Native American youth under construction in Southern California. A similar facility is planned for a site north of Davis in Yolo County.


The site of a now defunct tribal college north of Davis may soon be home to a drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility for Native American youth.

The facility would be called Sacred Oaks Healing Center and it would sit on a 12-acre site at the former DQ University.

Mark Espinosa is with the federal Indian Health Service. He told Yolo County supervisors recently that the center would serve kids 12-to-17.

"Not only in California but the nation faces a serious drug and alcohol issue and Indian country has been affected very adversely with these issues," said Espinosa.

He says the center would serve about 30 youths at a time with a staff of 70.

"In addition to a psychiatrist, a nurse practitioner, we will have 24-hour nursing coverage, mental health providers, very important," said Espinosa.

He explains that nearly 25 years after Congress initially approved money to build youth treatment centers, the money was finally appropriated last year.

"1992 was when this law signed," said Espinosa. "We're at 2016 now. So we've lost two generations of kids waiting for money for this construction project to start."

Supervisor Jim Provenza says even though the board backs the project, supervisors are worried about potential impacts construction on the 40,000-square-foot facility would have on agriculture, the environment and wildlife.

"We support what you're trying to do. But at the same time we also ask that you attempt to follow our local land use rules."

Another issue is traffic safety. The center would be near a sharp curve on Road 31.

"Clearly there's a need for these kinds of facilities in Indian country and it makes all the sense in the world," said Supervisor Don Saylor. "That said, we do have significant traffic issues at that curve."

Indian Health Service says it will work with the county to iron out any concerns. Construction could begin by springtime next year.

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