Juniper Junction Relief Nursery in Madras and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery in Bend announced they have joinied forces as of July 1, to help prevent child abuse and neglect.

This move mirrors the statewide effort in health and education sectors to provide cost effective, regionwide services that decrease costs and increase collaboration and service efficiencies.

While MountainStar will serve as the administrative hub for this joint county effort, both the Bend and Madras programs will be carried out with attention to local needs and services.

Private funding raised by and for each community will remain in those communities, supporting local children and families. 

“This plan will ensure that Juniper Junction will continue to serve the needs of at-risk children and families in Jefferson County. I am confident that the capable and professional leadership of the MountainStar Family Relief Nursery will yield a tremendous benefit to our community,” said Kevin Hormann, board chairman for Juniper Junction Relief Nursery.

This partnership lays the groundwork to put into action the steps outlined in the recent report by the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon to keep children safe from abuse.

The annual report is, “Preserving Childhood: Oregon's Leading Efforts to Prevent Child Abuse and Strengthen Families.” The report examined the prevalence and cost of child abuse in Oregon while also recommending 12 best practice prevention strategies.

As stated, child abuse affects more Oregon children than autism, juvenile diabetes and all forms of childhood cancer combined. In 2011, almost 11,600 children in Oregon were confirmed victims of abuse and neglect. 

Childhood trauma is linked to increased expenses in special education, foster care, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, mental health issues and health issues later in life, costing Oregon an estimated $2.5 billion for one year of child abuse and neglect. The report clearly outlined relief nurseries as a primary asset to reducing child abuse and preserving children.

"The Juniper Junction Relief Nursery has proven to be an extremely effective and responsive service to families in Jefferson County with young children who face numerous risk factors that often lead to child abuse and neglect. 

Joining with MountainStar Family Relief Nursery will help to ensure that these families and young children will continue to have access to the support and resources they need to help keep their children safe and out of the state foster care system. We know firsthand that the Relief Nursery model is a proven approach to preventing child abuse and neglect,” said Roy Jackson, Jefferson County DHS Child Welfare supervisor.

About MountainStar

With the addition of the Juniper Junction satellite in Madras, nationally accredited MountainStar Family Relief Nursery will provide crisis intervention and a therapeutic classroom services to 350 babies and young children aged 6 weeks to 5 years old in Deschutes and Jefferson counties.

These children come from families with multiple risk factors for child abuse and neglect, including low income, homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse.

Children at this critical age represent one-third of the victims of child abuse and are at a stage in their development when it is essential to have attached and attentive caretakers.

According to an independent evaluation of Oregon Relief Nurseries by Portland State University, children attending a relief nursery for six months have a 70 percent reduction in the risk of abuse and neglect.

Relief nurseries have documented success in reducing family risk factors for child abuse and neglect, improving family functioning and self-sufficiency and reducing foster care utilization.

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