Editorial: Summit County Children’s Justice Center deserves a home befitting its mission
The importance of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center’s work cannot be overstated. Since its inception in 2012, it has provided a safe place for hundreds of children who have been abused so the authorities can interview them about their experiences in a way that minimizes further trauma.
It’s heartbreaking that there is a need in Summit County for such an organization. But residents should be thankful the Justice Center has stepped up to fill it.
Now, the organization needs a permanent home. Currently, it operates in a small space in the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction, right next to the Snyderville Basin location of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The dedicated professionals involved with the Justice Center ensure being housed there doesn’t prevent the organization from fulfilling its mission, but it’s far from an ideal set-up.
Fortunately, there’s an effort underway to remedy the problem. The nonprofit Community for Children’s Justice is raising money to build the Justice Center its own facility. After spending the last year and a half getting off the ground, the nonprofit is gearing up for a major fundraising push this summer.
According to Community for Children’s Justice, the nonprofit has already raised about $250,000 and has identified three parcels of land that could work as the location for a facility. But depending on land costs, the organization will need between $3 million and $5 million to make it a reality.
The nonprofit’s leadership is hopeful a single donor will step up to fund a large chunk of the project, but the community’s willingness to provide the rest of the money will be vital. In a town flush with nonprofit organizations, all championing worthy causes, this is one residents should put their weight behind.
It’s an effort residents who donate will be particularly grateful for if their children ever need the Justice Center’s help. Abuse is a harrowing prospect for any parent, and one whose risk is all too real. According to Prevent Child Abuse Utah, for instance, roughly 20 percent of children in the state will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
It would be nice to believe our community is a outlier. But just because we live in a wealthy ski town doesn’t mean we’re insulated from that statistic, as the very existence of the Justice Center proves.
The unfortunate reality is that we’ll need an organization like the Justice Center for a long time. In return, the least Parkites can do is make sure it has a suitable home to help children the best it can.
For more information about the Summit County Children’s Justice Center, visit co.summit.ut.us/595/About-Us/. Details about Community for Children’s Justice are available at ccjsc.org.
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Our view: According to the Census Bureau, nearly 10 percent of Summit County children lack health insurance. We must change that.