LOGAN – If all goes well, the Cache County Children’s Justice Center will be moving to a new home toward the end of October.
The new CJC facility, to be operated by the Victim Services section of the Cache County Attorney’s Office, will be located AT 339 East 800 North in Logan.
The property was acquired and is being remodeled with $1.4 million in federal funds from the CARES Act. Use of those funds was justified because the county’s current facilities for services to youthful victims of abuse and neglect have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to County Attorney James Swink.
The Cache County CJC is a child-friendly facility where victims of child abuse are interviewed and medically assessed by professionals specifically trained in the forensic investigation of abuse.
Rather than having a child endure multiple interviews while being taken from agency to agency throughout the law enforcement and child protection systems, agency professionals come together at the CJC in a collaborative approach that results in effective, efficient and child-centered casework.
Director Terryl Warner explains that the CJC had been outgrowing its current location at 1362 North 400 West for some time.
“It’s a really small building,” she exphasizes, “only about 1200 to 1300 square feet … We have an examination room, a medical room, a waiting room and what we call an observation room, where law enforcement and prosecutors can watch interviews taking place. There are also two offices — one for our nurse and one for staff — plus a kitchen. That’s it. It’s been great, until recently.
“Unfortunately, our case numbers have been increasing over the years. We also realized that we needed to provide services to children who have been exposed to domestic violence as well as abuse.”
The shortcomings of the current CJC became even more critical during the ongoing pandemic, when its case load increased and scheduling became more difficult due to necessary physical distancing and deep cleaning precautions.
But Warner says those problems will be reduced when the CJC moves to its new home, a mansion-like residence in the Adams neighborhood.
According to the Zillow real estate website, the new facility is a 6,000 square foot, seven-bedroom, 4.5-bath three-story structure with a picturesque tower room overlooking 800 North. The former home boasts a spacious kitchen, a sunroom, a formal dining room, two family rooms, a sitting room, a game room and a play room. The house is set somewhat back from the street and has a deep backyard with winding garden paths.
“The house is just ideal …” Warner explains. “There’s that turret in front, which makes it look like a castle …The gardens in the backyard are just beautiful. It’s close to Utah State University, so it’s convenient to any student interns that we might have volunteer to help out. It’s also close to all of our law enforcement agencies.
“It’s spacious enough for us to do several interviews at one time, plus medical exams if necessary. The house even has different entrances that we could use to provide privacy and social distancing.”
Warner says the new facility has to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, so contractors will be widening entrances to some rooms. They will also be removing unnecessary closets, transforming a front master bedroom into a medical facility and other rooms will be converted into office spaces, interview rooms, observation rooms and a crisis therapy center.
The backyard will also be fenced for privacy and security purposes. Additional entrances will also be added to the structure.
The director added that plans for those modifications are moving ahead quickly and the CJC staff hopes to be moving to the new location by late October or early November.