Childhaven receives federal grant to boost response to tribal communities

Federal grant provides $628,681 in funding for four years

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Childhaven forensic interviewer and family advocate Erica Woody examines files on June 9 at agency's 406 Airport Drive location in Farmington.
  • Childhaven was awarded a $628,681 grant from the National Children’s Alliance and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  • The grant selected seven children advocacy centers from the contiguous United States to expand services into tribal communities.
  • Erin Hourihan, Childhaven CEO, told the Daily Times the nonprofit is proud to receive the additional funding.

FARMINGTON — A Farmington nonprofit organization has received a new grant that will help fund continued development of child advocacy services for tribal communities around San Juan and McKinley counties.

Childhaven was awarded a $628,681 four-year grant from the National Children’s Alliance and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, according to a June 4 press release.

The grant selected seven children advocacy centers from the contiguous United States to expand services into tribal communities.

Erin Hourihan, Childhaven CEO, told The Daily Times the nonprofit is proud to receive the additional funding.

“It’s always exciting when you receive a national level award. It doesn’t happen very often,” Hourihan said.

The organization operates children's advocacy centers in Farmington and Gallup. It opened the McKinley County facility in 2015.

Childhaven helps organize mental health treatment for child victims while seeking justice if a citizen is accused of a violent or sexual crime.

A majority of Childhaven’s clients are children from area tribal communities, according to Hourihan.

The National Children’s Alliance in a statement said Childhaven stood out among the applicants for its numerous letters of support from tribal partners and its inclusive proposal.

The NCA also stated the grant will impact several tribal communities, including the Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni and the Jicarilla Apache Nation

Childhaven Child Advocacy Center program director Dana Longenette, left, speaks to MDT coordinator Valerie Marquez at the agency's facility at 406 Airport Drive in Farmington.

The grant will help fund three positions for the organization, which will help increase its ability to help child victims of sexual and domestic abuse in tribal communities.

Those positions include a new tribal liaison position, along with an additional family advocate position and another therapist.

Hourihan said Childhaven works with the area tribal communities on an informal basis.

The organization also has developed a written protocol with area law enforcement agencies in San Juan and McKinley counties.

The protocols detail how law enforcement, Childhaven and child protective services interact during an investigation into sexual and/or domestic abuse of a child.

Hourihan believes the new tribal liaison will help organize formal arrangements, depending on how the tribes wish to work with her organization.

She said Childhaven is willing to work with the tribes to determine what sort of arrangement works best.

One of those options is developing a mentorship-type relationship as an accredited agency to help train child advocates and possibly help a tribe develop its own child advocacy center.

The additional child advocate and therapist positions are welcomed as the agency starts to see an increase in abuse cases as COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and municipal/state/tribal governments start to “reopen.”

Hourihan believes some clients may have put off reporting incidents due to stay-at-home orders issues in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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