County invests $3 million in contract to improve Family Services

A $3 million consulting contract between county Family Services and a North Carolina-based nonprofit, Action for Child Protection, was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Clark County Commission.

Officials at Family Services hope the agency will be able to help more families stay intact with the new services in consulting and training to be provided.

The contract starts May 1 and will run through June 30, 2016.

Lisa Ruiz-Lee, director of Family Services, told commissioners her agency has worked with the nonprofit with smaller projects. Washoe County began to work with Action for Child Protection in 2010 and has lowered the number of children who are removed from their homes.

“Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to learn about the model and see how we would benefit,” Ruiz-Lee said.

Under the contract, Action for Child Protection will provide program and case reviews, training, competency evaluations and policy and procedure development, among other services, said Kristi Jourdan, Family Services spokeswoman.

The nonprofit will help Family Services implement a new intervention system that would focus more on the safety of the child and less on the allegations that have been made.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak asked Ruiz-Lee why her agency had waited until now to contract for those services. Ruiz-Lee said it was an administrative decision that took place before she became director of the agency.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly warned Ruiz-Lee’s agency to be careful as it looks at other models.

“What may work in Northern Nevada, might not work in Southern Nevada,” he said, adding that Family Services is making great strides but still has a long way to go.

Ruiz-Lee said she was pleased with the approval.

“This contract will allow us to continue to move forward with enhancements to our safety practice and case management model and will ultimately improve services to children and families,” she said.

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

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