MINOT – Ward County Commissioners heard Tuesday that there is no place for children in need of shelter care as of Monday when the Department of Human Services’ new administrative rule went into effect, which requires youth in need of services be separated from youth with criminal charges.
The county had previously agreed to fund a new property for Youthworks, a sheltering program for struggling youth, in compliance with the new rule. As Youthworks has not yet closed on the property, Ward County State’s Attorney Rozanna Larson said Tuesday there is no place for these youth.
“I talked with someone from Youthworks yesterday,” said Larson. “She told me that they put an offer on that place and it was accepted and needs to go through the state licensing and inspection, but they’re still looking at up to 60 days for the inspection.”
Kristi Frederick, director of the Ward County human service zone, said while she cannot speak to the attendant care aspect of the situation, she said there is no shelter care for Ward County youth at this time.
“We take each case as it comes,” said Frederick. “If a child comes to the attention of the zone needing shelter care, we literally take each of those cases, case by case, and make the best safety decisions that we can up to and including providing staff and 24-hour supervision.”
Ward County Sheriff Robert Roed said with the new rule, cases where children would normally be placed in the law enforcement’s temporary attendant care, such as runaways, must now be placed in shelter care, and the new shelter care must be certified to house them.
“It would cost the county $395 for the first day to place them over there,” said Roed. “So right now, we have nothing.”
“We don’t have a whole lot of solutions to the transition,” Commissioner John Fjeldahl remarked.