Statement of Support for Dane County 2022 Behavior Health Budget Initiative – Creation of a Crisis Triage Center
YWCA Madison is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, freedom, and dignity for all. Our foundational values of Humanity, Community, Growth, and Restoration guide our actions and relationships. With this mission in mind, we write to provide our support of County Executive Joe Parisi’s $10 million capital budget proposal for the creation of a Crisis Triage Center and the $1.5 million allocation for operating costs.
Our Dane County communities need accessible resources for people experiencing a mental and behavioral health crisis that will not lead to criminalization. We know that the people experiencing historical and ongoing marginalization in our community – people who are Black, Indigenous, and of Color; people of the LGBTQ+ identity; people who have little to no income; people who are unhoused; and people with disabilities, to name a few – are more likely to be criminalized when experiencing a behavioral and/or mental health crisis. The criminal justice system is not designed to meet the complex needs of people experiencing mental and behavioral health crises and functions in a way that reinforces and replicates harm and trauma.
As stated by County Executive Parisi, “.. the fact remains that an estimated 40 percent of those in the Dane County Jail suffer from mental illnesses; and we must do everything we can to support those in crisis and find safe alternatives to incarceration whenever possible.” As we continue to witness and experience the disparate impacts of systemic racism and inequity compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, our Dane County community deserves long term, deep investments in resources that provide our neighbors with accessible, responsive, holistic, and supportive care and not jail cells and criminal records. We look forward to continued investments that address social determinants of health and equity, including but not limited to housing, healthcare, food security, education, and employment.
We appreciate your work as Dane County Board Supervisors and encourage your support of this budget request.
Vanessa McDowell, CEO
& YWCA Madison Advocacy Team
About YWCA Madison
YWCA Madison is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen our community. YWCA Madison is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. For comprehensive information about this important work, go to www.ywcamadison.org and www.ywca.org.