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South Salt Lake Journal

Center offers Safe Place for youth and families to re-establish peace

Nov 09, 2020 03:22PM ● By Bill Hardesty

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

The Inoa family (a fictionalized family) are having problems with their 15-year-old son, Hector. Hector is cutting class. He stays out beyond curfew. He often talks back and mistreats his younger brother. Yesterday, grades were posted and the fight and the screaming and the slamming doors started around 5 p.m. Around 9 p.m., the police arrived to help the family. After assessing the situation, the officer decided the best action for the family is space and time. With the parents following the officer in their own car, Hector wasn’t taken to the Juvenile Detention Center. He didn’t meet the qualification per state law. The officer was aware of a better alternative.

Hector was taken to the Juvenile Receiving Center (JRC) in South Salt Lake (177 W. Price Ave.). The Juvenile Receiving Center is part of the Salt Lake County Youth Services. They serve children ages 8-17 and their families at no cost.

The JRC is taxpayer supported along with grants.

The JRC is open 24/7, seven days a week. There is another location at 8781 S. Redwood Road in West Jordan, but they are only open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

“We try to stabilize the family so services will be more effective,” J.D. Green, Crisis Service Program manager, said.

Besides helping families, the JRC helps homeless youth and runaways find resources.

Rarely are youth dragged into the JRC. “They are willing to come,” Green said. “They are tired of the fighting.” 

The JRC can provide a time out to let people calm down. They also can provide an overnight stay or, in some cases, provide 72-hour care.

There is nothing punitive at the center. No isolation rooms. It is not a lock-down facility. There is no medical staff on site.

“We want to reestablish peace for the family,” Green said.

Services available

The JRC staff provides a variety of services driven by the needs of the family.

“The family are the experts. They know what is wrong and what they need,” Green said.

Along with providing immediate crisis services, the JRC staff provides short-term counseling sessions, referral services, family mediation/intervention and a Safe Place.

Under normal circumstances, much of the counseling is done in the home, but with COVID-19 restrictions, most sessions are done online.

They also offer group therapy sessions and classes. 

Therapy can last a year or longer.

Safe Place

Salt Lake County Youth services support the Safe Place program. Many public places and businesses display a yellow diamond on their door with the words Safe Place.

It is an indication for youth in crisis to come in and find help and resources. It also indicates that employees and staff have received training to help them. 

Green told a story about a 10-year-old boy who stayed at a library for a long time. After being called by the library staff, members of the JRC came and found out he was afraid to go home because he failed a test that his mother and him worked hard to prepare for. He was afraid his mother would be angry.

While she was, she was also grateful that he was safe and home.

“We handle easy situations like that to situations like neglect, abuse and human trafficking,” Green said.

For further information, JRC can be reached at 385-468-4500.