Clark County's Juvenile Justice Service Department unveiled a spring outreach initiative to remind parents and families struggling with troubled youth that The Harbor Juvenile Assessment Center is available to help 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The Harbor was created as a resource to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system by helping families cope with delinquency, truancy and other problem behavior before issues potentially escalate into more serious trouble involving the police and court system. Officials say youth visitation at the Harbor tends to increase in the spring and early summer with the onset of warmer weather in the Las Vegas Valley and the end of the school year. Billboards with the Harbor's website address, www.theharborlv.com and 24-hour phone number, (702) 455-6912, began appearing this week in local bus stop shelters to build awareness about its services. The outreach campaign also includes Public Service Announcements for TV and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and updates to the Harbor's website and brochure.
"The Harbor is dedicated to helping kids recover from mistakes and stay on a productive path in life," said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "We appreciate efforts to let people know that the Harbor is here to offer guidance and support to youth and their families."
Since opening in October 2016, the Harbor has served more than 8,000 local youth and families. The Harbor's location at 861 N. Mojave Road, off Washington Avenue, is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. A second location at 6161 W. Charleston Blvd., Building 2, on the State of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services campus off Jones Boulevard, is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. That location's phone number is (702) 486-5331.
"The Harbor's key to success is collaboration and its focus on prevention," said Clark County Commission Vice Chair Lawrence Weekly. "By connecting children and families to services they need before law enforcement or the courts get involved, it can truly change the trajectory of a young person's life."
Multiple community partners provide collaborative, one-stop services at the Harbor locations. In addition to Clark County's Department of Juvenile Justice Services, other agencies include Clark County's 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, Eagle Quest, the local cities and several nonprofit organizations.
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 providers.
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. Counseling, mentoring, tutoring and substance abuse treatment are the top areas of service referrals. Residents can call the Harbor to schedule appointments for an assessment or walk in during regular business hours. Some youth arrested for first time or low-level offenses also are diverted to the Harbor by police or Juvenile Detention Center staff. Referrals also come from ministers, schools and others in the community who believe a family could be served by the Harbor.