A child welfare organization is growing in the Flathead to meet the needs of kids in crisis. Helena-based Intermountain opened Providence Home, an emergency children’s shelter in the Flathead four years ago. A 4-hundred-50-thousand-dollar Community Development Block Grant takes the organization a big step closer to making the Home permanent. The Grant is federal funding awarded to the states, and dispersed locally. The Flathead County Commissioners sponsored Intermountain’s application for the funds to build a home on property the non-profit owns in Somers. CEO of Intermountain Jim Fitzgerald says they’ve been renting space for the home.
“One time we had a house kind of sold out from under us, another time we had to downsize it a little bit and get more of an appropriate facility. So, this is actually our third time, and it’s quite disruptive to have to moves, as well as difficult to find a secure place,” Fitzgerald said.
Providence Home currently provides 24-hour emergency care for children 12-years-old and younger. Intermountain has a hundred-plus-year history in Montana offering therapeutic services for children. It began localizing its services in the Flathead several years ago. Board Member Dee Incoronato lives in the Flathead and got involved with Intermountain more than a decade ago.
“There’s always been a need here in the Flathead as well as across the state of Montana, and we have always provided services here in the Flathead, but where the kids would have to actually leave the Flathead and come down to residential treatment in Helena,” Incoronato said.
Fitzgerald said offering the shelter care was their first service in the valley. Intermountain started offering outpatient therapeutic services a couple of years ago, then a space for supervised visits between parents and children, and most recently began offering therapeutic family care. Fitzgerald says building this permanent structure for Providence Home is one way they are continuing to grow to meet the need in the area.
“We’re managing toward providing therapeutic group care here in the valley. Currently, there is no facility that provides in-patient, therapeutic group care for young children, and at this point, well, it’s always been that children who need that have to leave the valley and travel to either Missoula, Butte, Helena, Billings, and are separated from their families and their support networks,” Fitzgerald said.
He estimates the total cost for construction at more than 1-million-dollars. Intermountain hopes to break ground in mid-2013.