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Salt Lake County cuts the ribbon on a new youth services center

Nov 02, 2017 02:33PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Mayor Ben McAdams with Youth Services staff and community partners celebrate at a ribbon cutting for a new youth services center. (Ruth Hendricks/City Journals)

Gallery: Ribbon Cutting [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Ruth Hendricks | Ruth.H@mycityjournals.com

On Sept. 26, Salt Lake County Youth Services held a ribbon-cutting event at its newly opened center in West Jordan. The former center was in Riverton at 12600 South 1300 West. Staff had looked forward to opening the new building at 8781 South Redwood Road, because it’s more centrally located and close to public transportation.

Carolyn Hansen, Salt Lake County Youth Services director, explained that “the move to the West Jordan office will make Youth Services more accessible to clients and other agencies.” 

Hansen said she was excited to work with the city of West Jordan, the West Jordan Police Department and continuing community partners to meet the needs of youth and their families at the South end of the valley. 

“It is our hope that our new location will be more convenient for all,” said Hansen. “We look forward to continuing in our partnership to provide crisis and substance abuse services.”

The facility offers a unique wraparound approach to services. Youth between the ages of 8 and 17 may come to this location for crisis intervention and short-term placement. Free individual and r family counseling is also provided, along with substance abuse and mental health treatments that include individualized plans, life skill groups, therapy and case management.

Youth Services works with more 9,000 youth per year and provides programs that foster healthy lifestyles and keep youth safe. The main office is in South Salt Lake.

The new West Jordan facility offers day treatment, which focuses on substance abuse help for up to eight youth. A counseling center provides outpatient treatment and crisis intervention. The Juvenile Receiving Center works with families or youth in crisis and offers immediate treatment. 

Police or probation officers may bring youth to the center, which has two reserved parking spots and a separate secure entrance for these officers to bring a person in more privately. Case manager Jeff Langworthy said, “We’ve had a positive reaction from the police, since it takes them less time to drop off kids than before,” Case Manager Jeff Langworthy said. “What we really want to do as a social worker is to try to find out what kind of services we can plug that family in to. If there are truancy issues, family dynamic issues, some mental health issues, we’re going to try to refer them to some services that we provide or services out in the community.”

The center has a day room with a lounge area where kids coming in can do school work or take a break. A teacher with Salt Lake Valley High School comes in Monday through Thursday to help with school work. 

“A lot of the kids that come in are really behind on their school work, and they can work on packets, which is a great opportunity for them to pick up extra credits,” said Langworthy. 

A room with a computer can be used by police officers to check if there are any warrants out on the person brought in. 

“Within five minutes, the officer can use the computer to write up a report, print it out and leave it with us,” Langworthy said. “The officer takes a copy if they want for their police report.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

“What an exciting day for Salt Lake County youth and for their families, not because we’re opening a new building but because we’re offering them hope and support today,” McAdams said. “That’s what this is about.” 

McAdams praised the staff of Youth Services for doing one of the toughest jobs and one of the best jobs in the county. 

“It’s the toughest because you see some people at the worst moments of their entire life,” he said. “The best job because you know that what you do makes a difference in their lives.” 

McAdams said that the center is a critical safety net to help youth as soon as possible before they fall deeper into the juvenile justice system. 

“The earlier we intervene, the more likely we are to succeed, and the cheaper it is too,” he said. “We offer a place to turn, with dedicated, professional staff who understand the challenges that many of these kids face, and they are here saying, ‘you don’t have to do this alone. We are here to support you.” 

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