Stark County is getting a new social services building.
Joining the site, near the CHI St. Alexius medical campus, are the North Dakota State University Extension office and Sunrise Youth Bureau, which share a building on Villard Street.
"We would like to thank the Stark County commissioners for including Sunrise Youth Bureau in the new building," Sunrise Youth Bureau Director Holly Praus told commissioners at their July 2 meeting. "We really do appreciate it."
The number of youths and families Sunrise Youth Bureau helps continues to increase, Praus reported.
This year, so far, they've helped 32 youths with its attendant care program, 10 youths with its out-of-school suspension program, and 66 youths with its diversion program.
The program keeps youths out of the juvenile court system.
"We then provide appropriate consequences for them," she said. "One of the consequences we provide is a class offered at Sunrise Youth Bureau. We've seen 48 youth for Sunrise Youth Bureau classes."
Sunrise's youth educator has done 143 prevention programs and classes in county schools, and seen a total of 2,056 students, Praus added.
"These programs are vital for our community," she said. "With the increasing issues of mental health and addiction, we hope our services are helping youth and their family. The prevention programs are vital to help assist with future issues."
Praus said the funds provided by the county have been sufficient and did not anticipate asking for an increase.
State Sen. Rich Wardner (D-37), who also serves as Sunrise board chairman, emphasized the organization's importance to the commissioners.
"The youth bureau provides a place when youth are apprehended, whether they're runaways or for any reason, they have a place to put them, and that saves law enforcement time," he said. "Those officers can get back out on the street."
Sunrise helps to relieve the burden on social services and the schools, as well.
"I've been with this thing since back in the 90s when I was assistant principal at Dickinson High School," Wardner said, "and it has developed, I think, into a very effective organization for the community in providing a lot of benefits."
Wardner thanked the county for its involvement and support.
"Stark County is the one that makes it happen," he said. "And because of you, the other eight counties have these services, too."
He added, "Yes, we're helping young people, but it has an economic effect on social services and law enforcement."
Commissioner Ken Zander applauded Sunrise Youth Bureau's staff and their efforts.
Zander noted that, in addition to being its largest supporter, Stark County is also the greatest user of its services.
"We thank you for your work and your dedication to your profession, and the service you provide young people and their families," he said, "and remind you, if you need more money, come and see us."
Construction on the new social services building is expected to start later this summer, with the hope of the facility being in operation by Fall 2020.