RAWLINS — Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (VOA) has partnered with Carbon County, the City of Rawlins and the Department of Family Services to reopen the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center, which has been closed since the end of October 2021.
This partnership is the result of a determined commitment from community leadership to keep youth in crisis safe in Carbon County. County Commissioner Sue Jones and County Attorney Ashley Mayfield Davis were instrumental in getting VOA involved with the project.
“VOA is very proud to provide youth services in Carbon County,” said Jeff Holsinger, CEO of Volunteers of America Northern Rockies. “I have been impressed with the passion to serve children displayed by community leadership. I knew from the first meeting that their commitment to the youth of Carbon County paired with our heart and expertise in youth services could get this facility reopened. It is our intent to deliver excellent services in partnership with the city, the county and the Department of Family Services.”
Holsinger said that VOA leadership was “inspired” by the passion of the community and empowered by flexibility from the county and from the Department of Family Services to make a realistic and sustainable commitment to the youth of Carbon County.
“The Department of Family Services has prioritized this community and its children,” said Holsinger. “Their flexibility throughout this process has been critical to creating and executing a plan that works for all involved and, most importantly, provides excellent care for Carbon County youth in crisis.”
Lindsey Schilling, the Senior Administrator for the Social Services Division of the Department of Family Services, shared, “The availability of crisis stabilization services in Carbon County is critical to preserving families and strengthening community based support networks that will keep youth home. As we move forward, we are excited to build on our partnerships with VOA and all crisis centers statewide to identify more ways we can continue to support the development and expansion of community-based services that will keep youth home and families together.”
VOA has operated a similar facility in partnership with the Department of Family Services, called Milestones Youth Home, in Sheridan, WY for over 20 years. Milestones provides care for up to ten children at a time, with six beds for 30-day crisis placements and four beds for long-term placements.
VOA will reopen the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center by late winter, with eight total beds; four for crisis situations in which children are placed by the courts, law enforcement, or their legal guardians and four for long-term placements which will be filled by the Department of Family Services.
Carbon County has committed $200,000 and The City of Rawlins has committed $25,000 annually to the crisis center for the next five years, Holsinger says “community support like this is rare, but speaks volumes to the compassion the community has for their youth.” Combined with contract funding from the Department of Family Services, these commitments leave VOA with additional expenses to operate the crisis center. The non-profit, which served more than 15,000 people last year, plans to begin fundraising efforts to offset these expenses in the future.
“We plan to replicate the youth program we have operated in Sheridan for the last 20 years, which has been a leading performer in service deliveries for youth,” said Holsinger. “Our top priorities will be to ensure that appropriate placements are made to the home, that children are kept safe, and that family reunification happens whenever possible and appropriate.”
The first task in reopening the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center will be hiring and training staff. VOA has already posted and begun interviewing for a program director. This is a professional position that will oversee the program and serve as a liaison for VOA to the city and county. Beyond the director’s position VOA needs to hire and train six full-time staff as well as two part-time staff. To help accomplish this VOA will hold hiring events at the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center in Rawlins, WY (1130 Daley St) on Thursday, January 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and again on Friday, January 21 from 8:00 a.m. until noon. These events will have HR and Youth Services staff on site to offer a one stop shop for application, interview, and hiring.
The program needs to be staffed 24 hours a day, and staff must be professionally trained and onboarded before any children can be moved to the facility. Jeff Holsinger and his team are committed to opening the doors before the end of winter and are working hard to be open as soon as possible. Holsinger expressed, “we need the help of the community to find compassionate employees to work at the program. At VOA we are an organization focused on servant leadership, with cultural values of respect, integrity, communication, compassion, and excellence. If you know someone who has those qualities, please ask them to apply. You can email our hiring team at Jobs@VOANR.org.”
The mission of Volunteers of America Northern Rockies is “To compassionately serve and strengthen individuals by empowering them to build healthy and happy lives.” Their faith-based organization is guided by professional staff and committed volunteers who create strong families and thriving communities through progressive holistic programs by lending a hand up, not a hand out. Volunteers of America Northern Rockies was established in Sheridan, Wyoming in 1985 as a regional affiliate of Volunteers of America Inc. a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential (est. 1896).
Their holistic and integrated programs, encompass eight core services areas – Veteran Services, Health Care Services, Adult-Corrections, Homeless Services, Youth Services, Affordable Housing, Ministry & Outreach, and Community Enhancement. Each program allows VOA to move individuals, families and even generations from instability to full and productive lives. Their outcomes continually demonstrate the potential in everyone.