Harbor Juvenile Assessment Center Celebrates Five Years of Helping Youth, Families

As the Harbor Juvenile Assessment Center celebrates its 5th anniversary this month, parents in need of counseling, tutoring and other resources available to youth and their families through the Harbor are encouraged to reach out to any of the program’s five Las Vegas Valley locations.

The Harbor opened on Oct. 17, 2016, as a pilot program 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. Signs that children may need help include depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol use, isolation, bullying or changes in behavior. To date the program has served more than 18,500 youth age 17 and under and their families, with counseling, mentoring, tutoring and substance abuse treatment being the top areas of service referrals.

“The Harbor is a true success story for our community,” said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, a strong supporter of the program. “The goal of the Harbor is help kids who make small mistakes get the resources and the support they need so they don’t head down a path in life that prevents them from becoming successful adults.”

“Thanks to our community partners and the Nevada State Legislature, we have been able to open Harbor locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley to provide families with access to services regardless of work schedules, transportation issues and other obstacles parents may face,” said Clark County Commission Vice Chairman Jim Gibson. “The secret to the Harbor’s success has been the collaboration among so many partners to help youth and their families get the support they need.”

Multiple community partners support the Harbor including the Clark County School District, local cities, area police departments, courts, state agencies and nonprofit organizations. Information about the Harbor is available on its website at www.theharborlv.com. All sites are open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Locations and telephone numbers are as follows:

  • 861 N. Mojave Road/Washington Ave., (702) 455-6912
  • 6161 W. Charleston Blvd., Building 2, on the State of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services campus off Jones Boulevard. Phone: (702) 486-5331
  • 3001 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., south of Cheyenne Ave., Phone: (702) 455-7914
  • 2000 E. Flamingo Road, east of Spencer Street. Phone: (702) 455-7912
  • 98 E. Lake Mead Pkwy., Suite 207, St. Rose Dominican Medical Plaza off Boulder Highway. Phone: (702) 455-0012

Most Harbor clients are referred to the program by the Clark County School District. About 25 percent of clients are walk-ins, brought to the center by parents or caregivers seeking guidance with their children. Other referrals come from police dropping kids off at a Harbor location instead of the juvenile detention center or intake staff at the detention center diverting kids to a Harbor if they have been arrested for a low-level offense.  Any members of the community who believe a child or family could be served by the Harbor including coaches, ministers and relatives are encouraged to contact the program for referrals to local resources.  Officials say troublesome 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. 

Funding approved by the Nevada State Legislature allowed for the expansion of the Harbor program in 2017 and 2019. The most recent legislation enabled the Clark County Commission to open three additional Harbor locations and create the Truancy Prevention Outreach Program (TPOP) to reduce student truancy and absenteeism. The TPOP program evolved from collaboration with families and community partners at the Harbor and has the goal of reaching children and families sooner with preventative services when excessive school absences are identified as obstacles to student success.

“We know in the Juvenile Justice world that kids who are unsuccessful in school often become clients in our system,” said Jack Martin, director of Clark County’s Juvenile Justice Services Department, which oversees the Harbor and TPOP programs. “We also know that missing a lot of class, especially in elementary and middle school, can really undermine a student’s ability to graduate from high school and can be a symptom of other issues going on in a family. The sooner we can reach families and children who are struggling, the sooner we can wrap them in support to help overcome barriers standing in the way of a student’s success.”

Most TPOP clients are referred to the program by the school district. Officials say the reasons children miss school can include health problems and family struggles such as housing instability, food insecurity and child care issues. The phone number for TPOP is (702) 455-7911. Additional information can be found on the Harbor’s website. The top services provided to TPOP clients to date are tutoring, mentoring, recreation programs and invitations to attend special events as incentives for improving school attendance.

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Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability.  With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.3 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 9th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.