The History of CLIP


1970’s - The Beginning of CLIP

Prior to the development of the CLIP Programs, Washington State children with severe psychiatric disturbance were frequently placed in residential settings that were not prepared to deal with their level of disturbances, or they were sent to facilities out of state. In 1977, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) approached the private sector for assistance in developing a program model to provide extended psychiatric residents care.


Supporting the model developed in the public/private partnership, in 1980 the Washington State legislature authorized funds to establish Residential Treatment Beds for Psychiatrically Impaired Children and Youth (RTFs). These state-funded beds were to be located at and administered by private, non-profit agencies under contract to the Division of Mental Health (DHHS/DMD). Rules and regulations for licensing standards were set forth in Chapter 246-323 of the Washington Administrative Code and codified under authority of Chapter 71.12 RCW, February 1980.


1980s - CLIP RTFs Open & New Law Enacted

In the early 1980s four Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs) began serving psychiatrically impaired children and youths. McGraw Center at Seattle Children's Home, Seattle, opened March 1981 as the first facility licensed under the new regulations. Martin Center opened in February 1982 in Bellingham, operated by Catholic Community Services Northwest. Tamarack Center opened in September 1984 in Spokane County. Pearl Street Center opened in January 1985 in Tacoma, operated by the Tacoma Comprehensive Mental Center.


The RTFs were defined statewide resources. Any child in the state had equal access to these services if the need was demonstrated. Locating the RTFs in different regions of the state meant services could be provided as close to home as possible.


Between 1991 and 1986 all children who were admitted to the RTFs met the same admission criteria, whether they were voluntary applicants or committed for involuntary mental health care. In January 1986, the new juvenile Mental Health Services Act (RCW.71.34) came into effect. Under the that law, adolescents who were involuntary committed on a 180-day Restrictive Order for inpatient care were now automatically eligible for admission to the RTFs and to Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC), the state-operated psychiatric hospital for children located in Tacoma.


This gave new over sight responsibilities to the CLIP Administration. The CLIP Administration became a participant in the annual Medicaid Inspection of Care audits conducted by the Mental Health Division.


1990s - CLIP Consolidates, RSNs Manage Public Mental Health Resources

While voluntary committed adolescents were automatically eligible for admission to any of the five CLIP Programs, there were two separate voluntary admission procedures for CSTC and RTFs. To meet Medicaid requirements, the MHD directed the CLIP Administration to assume all admission decisions for the inpatient beds at CSTC beginning March 1991. This established a centralized access point to extended inpatient care for all children.


In 1992, at the direction of the MHD, inter-system agreements were established between the CLIP Administration, the five CLIP Programs and the Regional Support Networks (RSNs). These agreements require identification of a local inter-system collaborative team to access the strengths and needs of an individual child and family, and plan individualized services and supports to meet those needs. If admission to a CLIP program is felt to be a part of this overall plan of care, the local community makes application to the CLIP Administration.


CLIP Today

Since the mid-1990s, the CLIP Administration role and responsibilities have changed little. CLIP Program services remain a statewide resource and any child in the State of Washington has equal access to these services if the need is demonstrated.


The CLIP agreements with the Regional Support Networks (RSNs) are modified in accord with the current best practices standards, building upon gains made since they were originally drafted. As of April 1, 2016, the Regional Support Networks became Behavioral Health care Organizations (BHOs).


In June of 2004, the Martin Center, the Residential Treatment Facility operated by Catholic Community Services Northwest closed. A portion of the publicly funded bed capacity was redistributed to the three other Residential Treatment Facilities.




Children’s Long-Term Inpatient Program for Washington State (CLIP)


2940 Westlake Ave N. #301
Seattle WA, 98109