New facility will build on work to keep youth out of justice system
King County is currently constructing a new Children and Family Justice Center to replace the failing Youth Services Center that will help the County build on its efforts to keep young people from entering the criminal justice system, deliver nation-leading diversion programs, and connect youth and their families to services and support.
The CFJC, which is being constructed with funds from a $210 million levy approved by King County voters in 2012, will have space for courtrooms, youth and family program space, a resource center, childcare facilities for families on court business, and a juvenile detention center with 100 fewer beds than the existing detention facility.
About $45 million of the $210 million CFJC project – around 20 percent of the project’s budget – is estimated to be spent on the detention portion of the new center. King County has reduced the number of youth in detention by more than 70 percent since 1998, and the new facility will help the County build on that work.
In a recent interview, Chief Juvenile Judge Wesley Saint Clair said that the new building will “give us a new framework” to help young people and families learn, grow and heal.
“I was in a community meeting last night and someone asked ‘Judge, why are you guys building a new building?’ And I said ‘have you been to our building? Have you seen how disrespectful it is?’ Our building sends vibes that say ‘we don’t care about you families or children.’ Because we’re giving you this raggedy building, where you can’t drink the water out of the water fountain, that leaks, where you are forced to have private conversations in the lobby because there’s not enough space for you to have those behind closed doors.’ So I think when you look at what’s happening it [the new building] will give us a new framework to keep evolving the change model.”
The new facility will provide a respectful and supportive environment to link even more youth and families – court-involved or not – with services and non-profit organizations in their own communities. Learn more.