The Chelan County Secure Crisis Residential Center is one of only two center's of its kind in Washington State. 

It serves as a safe place where children can stay on a temporary basis. 

Chelan County spokesperson Jill FitzSimmons says police officers and deputies bring kids to the center after finding them stranded on the streets. 

"It's a safe place where law enforcement, if they need temporary housing for a child, that they can use," said FitzSimmons. 

Chelan County still has a funding source for the center, whereas similar operations across the state have closed down over the years because of a reduction in state funding.  

The county has the means to match funding it gets from the state Office of Homeless Youth. A contract was recently signed for the agency to provide roughly $527,000 for two years. 

The Secure Crisis Residential Center operates at the Chelan County Juvenile Center, but kids are not taken there to be incarcerated. 

FitzSimmons says it serves a specific need for children. “Typically, it may be because a child has been reported as a runaway and can’t go home or you can’t get ahold of the parents. That is typically why a youth is going to be coming to the (center) here at Chelan County.” 

The Wenatchee center has four beds and is the only such facility on the state’s east side, with the only other similar center located in Clallam County. 

To be housed at the Secure Crisis Residential Center children: 

  • Must be at least 12 years old and under 18 years old. 
  • Must meet legal placement criteria. 
  • They must be medically cleared. 

The stay is not court-ordered, with an exception for at-risk youth who are in contempt of court, who can now be placed there. 

Police are required to attempt to call parents before taking kids to the Chelan County center. 

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Gallery Credit: Ryan Antoinette Valenzuela

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