Clark County Commissioners Lawrence Weekly, Susan Brager and Marilyn Kirkpatrick and officials from area police departments, the courts, state of Nevada, Clark County School District, the city of Las Vegas and other organizations celebrated the second anniversary of the Harbor Juvenile Assessment Center, and announced the opening of a new satellite location on West Charleston Boulevard.
The Harbor is designed to prevent children and teens from entering the juvenile justice system by helping families cope with problem behavior such as truancy or delinquency before issues potentially escalate into more serious trouble. Since opening in October 2016, the Harbor has served nearly 5,000 local youth and families. To date, counseling, mentoring, tutoring and substance abuse treatment have been the top areas of service referrals. Only 5 percent of the clients served to date have escalated into the court and juvenile justice system.
"We have a lot to celebrate since the Harbor opened its doors two years ago as a pilot program," said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, who worked closely with Clark County's Juvenile Justice Services Department and other agencies and civic leaders to create the Harbor. "The key to its success has been the commitment and collaboration of all the partners involved, and we could not be more proud of the results. We are changing the lives of youth in our community and putting them on a path for lifelong success."
The Harbor's location at 861 N. Mojave Road off Washington Avenue operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is (702) 455-6912.The Harbor's new satellite location is at 6161 W. Charleston Blvd., Building 2, on the State of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services campus off Jones Boulevard. The new location opened on Monday and operates seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The phone number is: (702) 486-5331.
Multiple community partners provide collaborative, one-stop services at the Harbor. The list includes Clark County's Department of Juvenile Justice Services and Department of Family Services, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Clark County Family Court, Clark County School District, Clark County District Attorney's Office, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, North Las Vegas Police Department, Three Square, the local cities and several nonprofit organizations. In addition to Commissioners Brager, Kirkpatrick and Weekly, participants at Tuesday's anniversary celebration included Jesus Jara, Clark County School District Superintendent, Jason Frierson, Nevada State Assemblyman, Bob Coffin, Las Vegas City Councilman, Deputy Chief Christopher P. Darcy of Metro, Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney, and Chantell Carr, whose son was referred to the Harbor after he was caught by police for violating curfew. Carr said her son, now 17, benefited from his interactions with staff at the Harbor and a class on decision-making skills that he took through the program.
Thanks to $1.9 million in funding dedicated to the Harbor in the 2017 Legislative session, the program was able to expand into a 24-hour operation in early 2018 at the Mojave Road location. The additional legislative funding and office space provided by the state of Nevada at its Charleston Boulevard campus allowed the Harbor to open the new location on Charleston Boulevard. The satellite location will be managed by Eagle Quest, a provider of counseling, behavioral health and family preservation services, as a public-private partnership. Clark County, the Clark County School District and the state of Nevada also will have staff at the location and access to other partners by referrals, depending on the needs of clients.
"The opening of a second Harbor location is a milestone for our community and a tribute to the Harbor's success," said Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, whose District F includes the new location. "We have built a program that is transforming the lives of children and families. The second location on West Charleston Boulevard allows us to expand access to the program, especially if transportation is an issue for some families in need of services."
"The Harbor provides a safe haven for youth and families to get connected to services before issues rise to the level of the courts or police getting involved," said Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "The program's focus on prevention has a proven success record of the last two years, and we want to make it as accessible as possible for any children or families in our community who can be served by it."
Originally based at the Family Court complex on Pecos and Bonanza, the Harbor relocated in January 2018 to its current location on Mojave Road. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department donated the location, formerly used as a police training center, to serve as a permanent home for the Harbor and the community's Family Justice Center. The two programs are separate but offer similar one-stop service models to clients. The Family Justice Center, open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, offers collaborative services from multiple agencies to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Victims can file police reports, obtain temporary protection orders, counseling, advocacy and housing assistance from the center.
To date, about 25 percent of The Harbor's clients have been walk-ins from the community, brought to the center by parents or caregivers seeking guidance with their children. Other referrals come directly from police dropping kids off at The Harbor instead of the juvenile detention center or intake staff at the detention center diverting kids to The Harbor if they have been arrested for a first-time or low level offense. Anyone in the community who believes a child or family could be served by the Harbor, including coaches, ministers, and relatives, is encouraged to call or visit the facility for help and referrals to local resources.
Signs that youth may need help include depression, anxiety, drug use, isolation, bullying or changes in behavior. Officials say youth behavior may be rooted in unmet mental health or substance abuse issues. It also could be symptomatic of issues going on with the family that can be addressed through community service providers. More information is available on the Harbor's website at www.theharborlv.com.