A section of the former Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services building at 1914 W. 18th St. in Port Angeles will be renovated to allow the True Star Behavioral Health youth treatment agency to expand. The building is now being used for storage space. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

A section of the former Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services building at 1914 W. 18th St. in Port Angeles will be renovated to allow the True Star Behavioral Health youth treatment agency to expand. The building is now being used for storage space. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

State grant to allow Clallam County youth treatment agency to grow

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has received a $1.1 million grant to expand the True Star Behavioral Health youth treatment agency, the three commissioners heard this week.

The state Department of Commerce grant will allow the county to remodel a section of the vacant building at 1914 W. 18th St., which is adjacent to the Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services Facility at 1912 W. 18th St.

“Right now, we’re all stuffed into our one building,” Jody Jacobsen, Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services director, told commissioners Monday.

“This will free up some space to have a designated facility for True Star.”

The Commerce grant also will position the county to open the state’s first secure withdrawal management detox center for youth chemical dependency holds in the existing detention facility, Behavioral Health Manager Patty Bell said Tuesday.

The vacant building at 1914 W. 18th St. housed Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services until the full-service facility opened in 1994.

Both county-owned buildings are on Port of Port Angeles-owned property near William R. Fairchild Memorial Airport. The county has a long-term lease for the land.

Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities Director Joel Winborn told commissioners that the south and east wings of the old building are being used for county storage.

“The central part of it is going to be remodeled for this project,” Winborn said.

Winborn added in a Tuesday interview that the roof of the old building will need to be replaced in the next few years.

“It’s just good that we have found a use for this facility,” Winborn said.

True Star — a division of juvenile court — provides drug and alcohol evaluations, assessments, treatment, co-occurring chemical dependency/mental health counseling and family counseling, and coordinates with schools, tribes and other agencies that work closely with youth, Bell said.

The Department of Commerce grant will help meet True Star’s demand for more staff, treatment services, youth recreation, activities and outreach, according to a memo to commissioners.

“We’ve been cramped in our offices and sharing our offices,” Bell said in a telephone interview.

“That building will give us an opportunity to grow.”

The next step in the True Star expansion is to create a secure therapeutic chemical dependency treatment unit near the licensed secure crisis residential center, a six-bed sanctuary for runaway youths, in the main detention center.

The goal is to provide one to three “secure withdrawal management beds” for youth chemical dependency holds, officials said in a memo to the board.

Clallam County would become the first county in the state to offer an in-house detox center for youth.

“The (detox) beds are within the current detention center,” Jacobsen told commissioners. “They’re not in the off-site location.”

Funding for the grant was approved in state capital budget.

“I would just like to highlight that it was port Commissioner (Colleen) McAleer that flagged this funding source and brought it to our attention,” said county Commissioner Mark Ozias, board chairman, in the work session.

Winborn said the project would likely go out to bid next year.

Bell said her goal is to move True Star Behavioral Health into its new location by August 2019, when the agency turns 21.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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