The cheerful bright yellow and white structure looked inviting from the outside even on a dull and cloudy Tuesday afternoon.
Several dozen people, including Tuolumne County supervisors and county administration staff, gathered outside for a brief dedication, ribbon cutting, then heading inside for tours of the new, 28-hundred square foot emergency children´s shelter on North Sunshine Road in Soulsbyville.
As the local lawmakers got ready to snip the gold ribbon across the doorway to the Tuolumne County Children´s Shelter , Supervisor Mark Thornton thanked individuals in the group and said even through the crowd was all adults, “this is really for the children.”
Carpets have yet to be put in, but the house was getting positive reviews by those walking through.
Terry Cox consultant to Tuolumne County helped write the community development block grant to fund construction of the new facility.
The grant came from the state Department of Housing and community development.
The county Child Welfare Services Department has been working on the project for the past 2 years. Cox says not having enough space to house the children going into foster care in the county had been a standing problem. “There had been a request from the social services department for additional emergency shelter space,” Cox says. The four bedroom shelter is build to house six children plus staff and has offices and conference rooms, as well as a large fenced yard for the children to play.
Housing for the kids at the new shelter is intended to be on a short term, temporary basis.She says this is the only facility like this in the county, and is designed for children that are taken into custody that need to be placed in the foster care system. “It gives social workers a little time to sort out what their needs are and where the best match for them will be,” she said.
Up to now, two other foster care families took children on an emergency basis, but Cox says they were often full.
Additional local funding for the home and day-to-day operation came from the county´s First 5 program, as well as the Tuolumne County Commission, YES Prevent Child Abuse, the Sonora Area Foundation, Omega Nu, and Mountain Women´s Resource Center, The Tuolumne County Deputy Sheriffs Association provided the playground equipment for the facility.