Children's Village receives $1.5M grant
In this 2021 Press file photo, Kellie Mundt, a direct care provider at Children's Village in Coeur d'Alene, prepares chili for at-risk kids in need of shelter from abusive situations.
CRAIG NORTHRUP/Press file
COEUR d'ALENE — Children’s Village was selected by the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections to receive $1.5 million to build a multi-agency resource center on its campus.
Funding came from the voter-approved 2021 state fund by Gov. Brad Little earlier this year to increase youth crisis resources across the state.
Construction could begin next year.
“Every single day someone tells me a youth in our community aren’t their problem,” said Vanessa Moos, chief executive officer of Children’s Village. “Leaders, heads of departments, decision-makers, they’re telling me that we should manage these kids on our own. It’s time for all of us to realize that every child and every family unit is everyone’s problem, especially when their failure could create an unsafe Coeur d’Alene.”
According to a press release, once built, the center will be staffed by plain-clothed Kootenai County Juvenile Diversion officers. Additional state and private community organizations will also use the spaces for offices and internship placements.
“Kootenai County Juvenile Diversion is both honored and pleased to be able to partner with our fellow stakeholders to better serve the citizens of Kootenai County and the families that we work with," said Douglas Hall, Kootenai County Juvenile Diversion supervisor. "We are excited for the potential that this assessment center brings to Kootenai County and are looking forward to the impact that it will have for many years to come.”
According to the National Assessment Center Association, assessment centers aim to prevent and divert youth from juvenile justice and child welfare systems through a single point of contact which identifies underlying issues contributing to concerning behavior and partners with youth and families to access individualized services and/or resources.
“This assessment center will create an opportunity for the community to identify the individual needs of any youth and family in crisis," said JT Taylor, director of Kootenai County Juvenile Detention. "By creating, with a family, a realistic plan to keep the unit whole, we have a chance to prevent the Justice system in Kootenai County from being the catch all.”
Children’s Village on Hanley Avenue has been in service for 32 years and operates a 24-bed facility of two residential homes.
Services include crisis respite to private families in need, emergency shelter for children in need of long-term housing, and residential treatment for children "with complex needs rooted in trauma," the release said.
Moos said the new center is in line with their plan to increase their reach into the community to keep children out of the state and federal systems.
“Decades ago, our primary mission was established to be proactive and keep children out of harm’s way by privately fundraising to take children into our homes before law enforcement and child protective services are needed," she said. "In 2022, our mission remains unchanged: we will do whatever we can to help youth by providing resources at their point of crisis."