Las Vegas youth center expanding to 24-hour service

Updated January 24, 2018 - 12:24 am

Clark County will soon provide around-the-clock diversion services to at-risk children.

The county’s juvenile assessment center will be open 24/7 by Valentine’s Day, said juvenile justice services director John “Jack” Martin.

Known as The Harbor, the center has coordinated mental health and other intervention services for children since October 2016. The goal is to keep kids from entering the juvenile justice system. The facility is currently open from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekdays.

“We live in a 24-hour town,” Martin said. “If mom comes home at midnight from her shift at Caesars and finds her child in crisis, the cops may not get there until 12:30 (a.m.). We’ve got ourselves a potential customer instead of them being in jail.”

About 25 percent of The Harbor’s clients are walk-ins. Many others come from police dropping off children at The Harbor instead of at the county’s juvenile detention center. Others are referred directly from the detention center. Close to 3,000 have been served, and only about 105 went on to enter the juvenile justice system, Martin said.

“Those numbers alone are incredible,” Martin said. “When we came up with this concept, we wanted to divert 50 percent of these kids away from juvenile justice.”

The Harbor also changed locations Monday, into a repurposed Metropolitan Police Department training building at North Mojave Road and East Washington Avenue.

Martin said the new location will be better-suited for The Harbor’s mission than the previous location, which was adjacent to the juvenile detention facilities on North Pecos Road.

“For our walk-in clientele, the detention center could be intimidating,” he said. The new location “is smack-dab in the middle of one of our high-service areas.”

Second location planned

A second campus should be opened by June, Martin said.

The county is partnering with the Eagle Quest foster care agency, which will run the day-to-day operations of the second location. The campus will be near the intersection of West Charleston and South Jones boulevards.

Eagle Quest director of operations Dave Doyle said his nonprofit will provide the same services as the county while also lowering costs to the government.

“We’re wrapping these kids in services, whether it be tutoring, mentoring, drug education, conflict resolution or anger management,” Doyle said. “We don’t necessarily do it all, but we’re going to partner with local providers to really have a comprehensive service array to meet the families’ unique needs.”

Martin said he’s looking forward to the public-private partnership.

“After a kid is done with in terms of juvenile justice, we don’t deal with them. Private partners tend to establish more long-term relationships,” he said.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at or 702-477-3861.

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