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VEGAS LOST: Nevada Homes for Youth overloaded with at-risk kids

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The stories at the Nevada Homes for Youth are of addiction and abuse. They're from the teenagers that stay; they play out in letters written to themselves.

The kids that stay at the Nevada Homes for Youth started using drugs as early as 9 years old. They all got in trouble and were sent to NHFY to complete a 6-month program that requires them to live, go to school and stay clean inside.

The facility is almost always full.

Ron Moore, who has run the facility since 1991, tells us the need for facilities such as this has grown. The problem is twofold; on one side is a growing valley with more at-risk kids, and on the other is a shrinking number of providers offering similar services.

That combination has put pressure on Nevada Homes for Youth to squeeze budgets and shrink the length of the program.

“We recently lost a lot of providers,” Moore tells us. “The problem I’m seeing is a lot of kids have to go out of state.”

Unsure of why other providers are leaving, Moore is pressing on. He has seen his share of success stories. One of his former residents is now an attorney.

Mahogany Turfley came to Nevada Homes for Youth at 15 when her group home closed abruptly. She was on her own and managed to buy in to the program and the people running it.

Mahogany graduated from UNLV, but frustrations with the criminal justice system's handling of kids like her made her give up criminal law in favor of civil.

“I reached out to Mr Moore to help,” Turfley said, fighting back tears. “When you see there’s no resources you can relate to that, that could be me. I used to do criminal law and that’s why I don’t do it anymore. It’s how the system is set up. It's set up for failure.”

Turfley means a lot by that. She has seen a lot of holes, a lot of problems that need to be fixed.

As for Nevada Homes for Youth, the system has overloaded them. The need to help more kids has them hoping more funding from the state is coming.


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