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Clark County approves $1.9M contract to help at-risk youth in Child Haven

Claude I. Howard Children's Center
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The Claude I. Howard Children's Center at 701 N. Pecos, which houses family services, Child Haven and CPS.

Late last year, workers at Child Haven held a short walk-out, protesting conditions that they said were dangerous.

They said they’d been bitten, punched and one was even thrown through a window by one of the young people there.

Six months later, Clark County commissioners unanimously approved a contract of up to $1.9 million to hire an outside group to treat those with more serious mental health and behavioral issues.

The Oasis Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility, located at 6171 W. Charleston Blvd., will provide treatment to youth with intellectual and developmental delays, including autism, who have intensive behavioral needs and cannot be safely cared for in the community, according to the county. 

The immediate care facility with include six beds and more treatment for kids who would otherwise live at Child Haven. 

Tick Segerblom said he thinks COVID-19 caused several issues at Child Haven, including a short staff and having to put all children with various issues together.

With the money, they’ll build a location to separate the most violent kids. It’ll fund six beds in a new facility on West Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas.

“We're going to take the violent kids out of Child Haven and put them there. I think right now there's only four kids, but four kids is 24/7, it takes a lot of manpower. I think you're going to find it in talking to the employees later today that it really is a lifesaver and very positive,” he said.

Southern Nevada is “incredibly short-staffed” of mental health professionals, he said. He drew attention to recent incidents of violence in Clark County schools and the lack of appropriate support staff.

Currently, Segerblom said the county is working closely with SEIU, to make sure employees are treated fairly and get support.

“Kids, when they come to Child Haven, they are removed from a traumatic experience from their home and some of the kids have had to fight for survival. They've had to fight, you know, either a perpetrator or a parent or a caregiver. And unfortunately, it gets carried over to our staff,” said Michelle Maese, the president of SEIU Local 1107.

Ultimately, she said the county’s efforts will make the situation better.

Mikelle Cieri, a supervisor for the department of family services, said Child Haven is a licensed daycare facility, not a mental health facility. Staff are only trained to handle kids with some trauma, but not severe mental health issues.

She’s been with DFS for 15 years, “full of employees who are dedicated to children and families.”

Tick Segerblom, Clark County commissioner;  Michelle Maese, president, SEIU Local 1107;  Mikelle Cieri, supervisor, department of family services

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Zachary Green is the Coordinating Producer and a Reporter for KNPR's State of Nevada Program. He reports on Clark County, minority affairs, health, real estate, business, and gardening. You'll occasionally hear Zachary Green reporting and fill-in hosting on the State of Nevada program.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She oversees and writes State of Nevada’s online and social media content.