The Friends of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center and Intermountain Healthcare today announced an agreement designed to strengthen access to trauma-informed services for children who have been victims of abuse and other crimes.
“Improving access to behavioral healthcare for children in Washington County is directly aligned with Intermountain’s ‘Primary Promise’ to build the model health system for children,” said Mikelle Moore, chief community health officer. “We are grateful to the Children’s Justice Center for converting this empty lot into a place of healing and look forward to continuing to provide services for the CJC’s patients.”
Under terms of the agreement, Intermountain will provide a charitable land lease on 1.22 acres of land immediately adjacent to the current Children’s Justice Center. The Center will use the land to expand its current campus and provide space dedicated to the physical and mental health of children who have endured the trauma of physical or sexual abuse or other types of crimes.
A History of Collaboration
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Intermountain on this ambitious project,” said Christina Harris, chair of the Friends of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. “Intermountain has long been a strong supporter of Children’s Justice Centers across the state, including here. We are constantly in awe of the generosity of our community as the Center works to fulfill its mission of collaborating with multidisciplinary partners to protect each child, advance justice, promote healing, and educate our community.”
The new facility will be the home for the Children’s Justice Center’s mental health therapy program as well as the local Intermountain Safe and Healthy Families pediatric abuse medical team. “The Children’s Justice Center and Intermountain have a long history of collaboration,” pointed out Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist. The first Washington County Children’s Justice Center opened in 1997 in a small home donated by what was then Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center. From there, the Children’s Justice Center moved to its current location on 500 East in St. George on land also donated by Intermountain. Medical services are provided by Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital employees.
“We are appreciative of the great collaboration between Intermountain, Washington County, the City of St. George, the state of Utah, Children’s Justice Center staff, and private partners to quietly care for the most vulnerable in our community – our children,” he continued.
In keeping with the homelike environment of the current Children’s Justice Center, the expansion will be designed to fit in with its downtown residential neighbors. “Our primary value here is safety,” said Kristy Pike, Washington County Children’s Justice Center director. “We depend on this neighborhood to help us help kids feel safe, and are committed to being the best neighbor on the block.”
Living the Healthiest Lives Possible
“Adverse childhood experiences like abuse have been shown to increase risk factors for nine of the ten of the leading causes of death in Utah, including things you would expect, like suicide, and things you may not expect, like cancer and Alzheimer’s,” said Mitchell Cloward, Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital administrator. “The services provided by the Children’s Justice Center are designed to buffer those effects and help children grow to live the healthiest lives possible.”
Intermountain Healthcare’s Healthy Kids initiative also includes proactive efforts to address adverse childhood experiences. This work includes early interventions with pediatricians, schools, and community groups to help screen children for signs of serious stress, connect them to treatment, and help them thrive.
Healthy Kids is part of Intermountain’s “Primary Promise” to invest $500 million to create the nation’s model health system for children. The investment will be shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through Intermountain Foundation’s emerging campaign.
The Friends of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center is a qualified 501(c)(3) with a mission of supporting the work of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. Services of the Center include forensic interviews, victim advocacy, and medical and mental health services for children who have been victims or witnesses of abuse or other crimes. In 2021 the Center served 401 primary victims and their non-offending families. The most common allegation for the kids seen at the Center was child sexual abuse/assault.
The Washington County Children’s Justice Center is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance, and is a public/private partnership funded in-part by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Washington County, The Utah Office for Victims of Crime under the Office for Victims of Crime Department of Justice, the Friends of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center, and by private donations. For more information or to donate, visit www.cjcwc.com.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, the Intermountain Medical Group with some 2,700 employed physicians and advanced care practitioners, a health plans division called SelectHealth, Homecare, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.