Jack Anderson and his buddies show plenty of bounce as they join the party at the Children's Justice Center.
For more than a year now, the Family Support and Children's Justice Center has been operating and excelling within their new location on Fairgrounds Road. This new facility has not only brought increased amenities, but a new sense of service and capability for those who work toward support and justice for Carbon County children.
"As soon as we got into the facility, we hit the ground running," said FSCJC Director Shelly Wright. "The continued support from this community has been incredible. One of the big differences between this building and what we had before, is the feeling you get when you step into this facility. It's open in here and we have a parking lot, something that was severely lacking at our last center."
To commemorate the facility's first year, Wright and her cohorts at the center organized a celebration that included food, activities and a petting zoo for every child who was able to attend.
"We are able to offer a great amount of security both physically and emotionally for our children in this facility," continued Wright. "The playground area, the privacy fencing, it's just top notch."
As far as specific functions go, the new facility came equipped with an infant care room, which has allowed the center to take on a whole new demographic of children.
"We now have a room we can put cribs in," explained Wright. "We used to have to go into the boy's bedroom to get to the restroom with our babies. The new building had changed all that. Our recording equipment is also completely updated. We used to run on VHS if you can believe that. In contrast, everything in this facility is digital."
The new center houses three state-of-the-art interview rooms, which officials and law enforcement use for child abuse protocols.
According to Wright, the local child abuse situation doesn't seem to be getting worse at the moment but it's also not going away. Making the worth of the Children's Justice Center all the more important.
"We need for people to know that this center is operating to help prevent child abuse. We don't just investigate abuse here, we work to stop it," stated the director.
To do this, center employees help give parents respite from stressful situations by simply taking the kids for a given period of time.
"We are not a baby-sitting service," explained Wright. "But we are willing to help, especially in stressful or difficult situations. We are family support, we work with family however we need to in order to prevent abuse."
For example, the center will often take in a family of children when a medical issue has made child care difficult for a given family.
According to the director, the center's crisis nursery has seen a large increase in use since the center moved to fairgrounds road.
While child abuse has not directly increased as of late, the CJC is servicing more children, mostly because they are able to offer a larger variety of services to more and more Carbon County youth.