KNPR

Child Haven workers say they face dangerous conditions at home for neglected children

child_haven.jpg

Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

Some staff at Child Haven — the Clark County-funded shelter for abused and neglected children — say it’s a dangerous place for employees and the young people they care for.

Workers have reported being punched, bitten, kicked, and one was recently thrown through a window. The situation led last week to about 100 workers and their supporters protesting outside of Child Haven for improved conditions.

“It is the obligation of the county to make sure that our members, their employees are safe — and of course, the children under their care are safe,” said Grace Vergara-Mactal, executive director of SEIU Local 1107, which represents Child Haven workers.

A shortage of workers at the center creates the potential for more of these issues because the staff is stretched so thin, Vergara-Mactal said.

“There are more children now in child Haven, but the staff is the same,” she said. “Our members are doing their best. They love their job. They love the children, and they're doing their best to make sure that they give the utmost care for the children, but it's just not possible.”

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom said he was shocked when he first heard about the situation at Child Haven.

“It's a horrific situation, and there's really no excuse for it,” he told State of Nevada. “We’re just going to have to suck it up and spend some money and work with the state.”

Support comes from

Segerblom said there needs to be more resources available to better separate children with mental health issues or violent tendencies from the rest of the residents.

Child Haven is having challenges finding workers, in part, because of the screening and other elements of the lengthy hiring process, according to a Department of Family Services official.

“It takes anywhere from four to six months for anyone to get hired,” said Keishe Carruther, a county child development technician. “So by then someone has moved on and found another employment somewhere else.”

Segerblom encouraged studying if that process could be sped up or, perhaps, allow people to start working at Child Haven even as they received their training.

Guests

Tick Segerblom, Clark County commissioner; Keishe Carruthers, child development tech II, Department of Family Services/Child Haven; Grace Vergara-Mactal, executive director, SEIU Local 1107 

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.

More Stories

KNPR
KNPR's State of Nevada