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Child Haven facility dealing with overcrowding problem

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 7/23 1:07 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- There has been a spike in the number of calls to report abused or neglected children in Clark County.

More child abuse investigations in Clark County have led to more children being removed from their homes, which is starting to strain our children's emergency shelter.

More people are calling to report suspected child abuse or neglect, and for children who can’t return home, foster parents provide a new family to call their own.

However, there's a shortage of foster parents in Clark County.

Ali Caliendo and her husband, Terry, have been foster parents for the past year.

"It has absolutely brought joy and fulfillment into my life and as a family, being able to foster, we have grown so much," said Ali Caliendo.

Removing children from their homes is always the last resort for Clark County's Department of Family Services.

"Obviously keeping kids safe in their home is our number one goal," said Michael Knight from the Department of Family Services.

Knight says when that's not an option, the agency turns to family, friends, and foster parents like the Caliendos.

Sometimes the child ends up in Child Haven, the emergency shelter for abused and neglected children. Today there are 51 children staying there.

That number was as high as 83 in mid-April, which is over capacity.

"We're in an awkward position in the sense that we can't and we shouldn't turn children away," Knight said.

A family services report from May reflects an increase in the number of calls to the county's abuse helpline.

The agency received about 2,000 abuse and neglect referrals.

In about 1,000 investigations, they found 66 cases of abuse or neglect.

"I would love to have hundreds come out this week, and sign up to be foster families," Knight said.

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