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The City Journals

City Council Maxes out Funds to Protect Women and Children

Jun 10, 2016 09:28AM ● By Sandra Osborn

South Jordan City funds The Family Support Center among several public services. Photo credit: Sandra Osborn

By Sandra Osborn / [email protected]

On April 19, the city council approved allocating $32,137 toward public services for the 2016–17 fiscal year. The funds come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a program administered by HUD.

“The primary purpose of CDBG funds is to develop viable urban development, creating a suitable living environment that includes extending opportunities for low and moderate income persons,” South Jordan City Planner Jake Warner said.

Every year, the city council can allocate up to 15 percent of CDBG funds toward public services such as The Road Home and the Utah Food Bank.

“In the fiscal year 2015–16, 75 households are expected to benefit from the food bank, and 180 South Jordan residents will be served at the Health Clinic,” Warner said. “The numbers are lower for the shelters but still we estimate 25 people from our city will each use The Road Home for a week’s worth of food and accommodations. The city tries to run a simple but effective program to maximize the benefit to the resident.”

South Jordan also tends to fund family-centered services.

The Family Support Center (FSC) works to protect children by strengthening families and preventing child abuse. Among its many services, it operates three 24/7 Crisis Nurseries that provide a safe place for children when parents are in need.

“Whether mom just needs time to do the grocery shopping or going to counseling, or whether the police brings kids here because mom is not emotionally able to take care of them and dad’s out to jail, we are here to keep the children safe,” FSC Development Director Barbara Stallone said.

Just last month, 28 year-old Codey Jolley was charged with the child abuse and murder of his 17-month-old stepson. The child had suffered burns to his face two weeks before his death, reportedly while his mother went to a job interview.

“I wonder if the mother knew she could bring him to a Crisis Nursery instead, whether this little boy would be alive today,” Stallone said.

In the 2014–15 fiscal year, the FSC served 1,849 children with over 11,762 visits. The Crisis Nurseries are homes repurposed to host 8–12 children at any given time, with a few staying up to 72 hours.

“CDGB funds are critical,” Stallone said.  “The FSC is only 46 percent government funded and gets the remainder of funds through sliding-scale client fees and active solicitation. But the CDGB funds help us pay our highly trained staff.”

The FSC served 20 South Jordan families last year.

South Jordan also allocated funds for South Valley Services (SVS), which offers supportive services to men, women and children victims of domestic abuse.

“One in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are victims of criminally reported violence in the home,” SVS Executive Director Jennifer Campbell said.

“But Utah trends a little higher. Domestic violence affects anyone regardless of socioeconomics and demographics,” Campbell said.

According to the Utah Department of Health, 43 percent of homicides committed in the state between 2000 and 2013 were related to domestic violence.

In 2014, 1 in 4 homicides in Utah involved victims who were 18 years or younger; many involved family members killing family members.

“SVS is working to train police departments on the Lethality Assessment Protocol,” Campbell said. “We just trained South Jordan PD and are currently working on a plan for implementation in the next few months.”

The Lethality Assessment Protocol involves an assessment by law enforcement to determine risks for violence when answering a domestic disturbance call. Often times, victims are unaware of the degree of danger they might be in, and the assessment opens a door for law enforcement to connect them with community-based victim service providers such as SVS, according to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

“CDBG funding at SVS pays for resource advocates and case managers, and make it possible for SVS to have a 24-hour hotline with real staff to receive those calls,” Campbell said.Other beneficiaries of CDBG funds include City Senior Services, Salt Lake Community Action Program, Legal Aid Society and Community Health Centers. South Jordan granted each institution an average of $4,500 this year.