Officials with the Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities officially welcomed city leaders and guests to a new Houston center aimed at offering a safe space for youth in crisis who are within the Harris County juvenile probation program.

The details: The Youth Diversion Center, located at 6500 Chimney Rock Road, Cottage 3, Houston, will provide programs for young people between the ages of 13-17 who have engaged in low-level offenses, according to a news release.

  • Youth in the program might be in need of temporary respite care due to a mental health crisis, in need of psychological and social intervention programs.
  • Mental health crisis examples include family conflict that cannot be de-escalated.
  • Referrals to the center will come from Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.
  • The center also aims to foster community and family reintegration, officials said.

Quote of note: “The Youth Diversion Center is another example of our commitment to be smart, not just tough, in the way we tackle crime,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a news release. “The wraparound services will impact around 600 youth annually. We know that treatment, not incarceration, can improve the lives of kids who find themselves in the criminal justice system, and ultimately makes us all safer.”

What you need to know: The center is staffed by social workers, counselors and professionals who work with the younger populations in order to work with the youth and their families in creating individualized diversion plans.

Zooming in: The Youth Diversion Center is a collaborative effort between the Kinder Institute of Urban Research at Rice University and the following Harris County organizations: Harris County Resources for Children and Adults; district attorney’s office; and the Juvenile Probation Department.