After literally working out of their garage for 30 years, Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center professionals moved into a brand new, $1.2 million office building just before the end of the year.
Therapists, program managers, family preservation experts and other administrators will now occupy the 10-office building on South Spruce Street in Kenai.
Providing basically two levels of care for youth an emergency stabilization and assessment shelter and a residential child care facility the center serves young people dealing with abuse, neglect and delinquency issues, and offers parenting training for people seeking to become foster parents.
The new building also has two classrooms, a conference room and boys and girls locker rooms in anticipation of attaining the next dream: a gymnasium for their clients, according to Tammy Bidwell, executive director.
Built from the ground up by Dan Green and G and S Construction, the new building was paid for through savings from funds that were not specifically attached to treatment programs, through investment savings and private donations, said Bidwell and Debra Kimbrell, program manager for the private, non-profit organization.
Offices will be used by two therapists, three program managers, two family preservation specialists, a foster care coordinator and the executive director. In addition, one office will be set aside for visiting therapists to use when in Kenai.
No strangers to financial struggle, center staff originally secured $25,000 in state criminal justice grants to establish the community care center in a former Federal Aviation Administration housing building in 1974. Local people matched the grant money with volunteer labor and donated supplies to renovate the building.
Furniture was mostly secondhand and the general public pitched in with blankets, linens, pots and pans, carpeting, skis, ice skates and other outdoor recreational gear. A large recreation room had ping-pong and pool tables.
Up to 10 boys and girls lived at the center initially. Today, Bidwell directs 36 full-time, eight part-time and three on-call staff members who run the emergency shelter and two treatment homes for abused and troubled youth ages 12 to 18.
"We have 15 total beds and do therapeutic foster care," said Bidwell.
The emergency shelter is co-ed, as is one treatment home; the other is for boys only.
The emergency shelter provides care for youth in immediate danger due to abuse or neglect in their present environment or youth who are in need of short-term, temporary placement up to 90 days. It is also for those who have committed a delinquent act.
Following the emergent care, they are assisted in returning home or into alternative placement. Youth can remain in the residential treatment homes for 1 1/2 to 3 years, Bidwell said.
If the youths have emotional or behavioral disorders that cannot be treated effectively while they are in their own home or foster home, they are placed in residential care and may stay six months or longer. Teens placed in the center are in legal custody of the Office of Children's Services or the Division of Juvenile Justice.
Though they were still awaiting some furniture deliveries, staff members moved into the new office building Dec. 28.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at email@example.com.
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