VIEWPOINT | Ryan’s House shouldn’t mix young adults, children

By SHERIFF MARK BROWN

There’s been a lot of media attention focused on the future of Ryan’s House. As the elected law enforcement official in Island County, I feel it is my duty to comment on matters involving public safety.

It is my opinion that we should not have a “drop-in youth center” for 12- to 18-year-old children at the same location as an “emergency transitional housing facility” for young adults, ages 18 to 24.

I’ve always supported, and will continue to support, both of these programs in a structured setting, separate and apart from each other. In dealing with two potentially vulnerable populations, one being juveniles and one being adult, the structure needed to individually monitor each can be overwhelming, taking into consideration the need to provide mental health and/or chemical dependency care to those in crisis.

My opinion is not meant to detract from the effort of the wonderful volunteers who have stepped up at Ryan’s House to help those who are disadvantaged; rather, it is to ask that Ryan’s House concentrate efforts on serving either the young adult or juvenile population, not both in the same location.

The unfortunate reality is that the co-mingling of these two legally different populations, without proper structure, creates potential for sexual and/or physical abuse between an adult and a minor.

Lack of “risk-free” structure was one reason why Island County Human Services didn’t grant Ryan’s House money for “housing assistance” in 2017. This was addressed in a letter sent to “Ryan’s House for Youth” on Dec. 19, 2016, from the Island County Housing Advisory Board.

Let’s continue to work together to resolve issues in a way that mitigates risk and at the same time helps those in need.

More in Opinion

Cartoon for Nov. 17, 2018

Cartoon for Nov. 17, 2018… Continue reading

Sound Off: Shop local on Small Business Saturday

By Betty Freeman South Whidbey is home to an array of creative… Continue reading

Letter: Writer should be ashamed of his ‘misleading letter’

Editor, Well, I hope no one ever hires Lee Rebman to analyze… Continue reading

Letter: We can do better —don’t drive under the influence

Editor, Once again, Island Thrift has fulfilled the Impaired Driving Impact Panel… Continue reading

Letter: Trump is thuggish buffoon who would be laughed at

Editor, So, we’ve come to this. A president who praises Congressman Gianforte… Continue reading

Letter: Let your representative know the changes wanted

Editor, We all know that government is slow, at least when it… Continue reading

Letter: Electromagnetic fields are all around us, affect health

Editor, In normal Whidbey life, the typical exposure of a child or… Continue reading

Letter: Letter writer was incorrect about Initiative 1631 info

Editor, Norman Bodine’s anti-Initiative 1631 letter of Oct. 9 states, “95 percent… Continue reading

Letter: Can U C Me Campaign for safety awareness

Editor, This time of year, it’s dark when I leave my house… Continue reading

Most Read