The North Dakota Department of Human Services, Behavioral Health Division, has issued a request for proposals for an adolescent residential treatment center to service youth with a dual diagnosis.

Before 2013, adolescents could go to Grand Forks’ Children and Adolescent Treatment Services, funded by the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant. In 2013, the funding was transferred to Bismarck so it would be in a more central location, and Youth Residential Service was opened. Its contract has since ended, and there are no longer any publicly funded adolescent residential treatment programs in the state.

The program in the RFP can be located anywhere in the state.

The DHS is now soliciting proposals for a comprehensive program to service adolescents with a dual diagnosis, including substance use disorder, who need low or medium intensity residential treatment.

According to the RFP, services will include individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, family support/education, medication management, supported education, case management and rehabilitative services, including skills training and integration.

All proposals must be received by the department by 4 p.m. Oct. 4 to be considered. A notice of intent will be awarded around November, and the contract is to begin no later than March 1, 2020.

This is the second time an RFP was submitted. The first time, the department received no bids. Lacresha Graham, procurement officer, said they received feedback on why there were no bids last time: "It was during legislative session and the individuals who would be writing proposals were involved in tracking bills and testifying, and there were questions on the process of becoming a licensed treatment program."

Such a facility would fill a need in the state, where youth with in need of residential treatment are often sent out of state for care.

Badlands Human Service Center in Dickinson has a residential treatment facility, but it only allows for the treatment of adults, as does its only crisis bed, which is used for people in a mental health or substance use emergency.

There are private options available, such as Home on the Range, but factors such as price, waiting lists and screening requirements can be barriers to treatment.