Nonprofit Spotlight: Eagle Valley Children’s Home
City National Bank sponsors this content
In September, 1946, the Nevada Children’s Foundation was formed and began doing business as Eagle Valley Children’s Home. The philosophy of medical doctors at that point in time was generally that children who were born with severe disabilities should be placed outside the home so that parents could focus their time and attention on their other children. Although most other states accommodated this, Nevada had no such placement available.
A Reno mother of a son who had Down’s Syndrome was advised to place him outside their home, so she set out to establish a home that would not only be helpful to her, but would be available to other Nevada families.
The Nevada Children’s Foundation located 210 acres to the northwest of Carson City that had been used as a “guest ranch” for women who needed to establish residency in Nevada to facilitate a quick divorce.
The property with its frame buildings were purchased and an experienced caregiver, Grace Koster, from Hayward, California was hired as the first manager of Eagle Valley Children’s Home which immediately began providing services to sixteen children. With the help of hotel and casino owners throughout Nevada, the mortgage was paid off within a year. The home was run with gifts and donations to the Nevada Children’s Foundation.
Thirty years later in 1976, Eagle Valley Children’s Home became an “Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded,” and thereby became eligible to receive Medicaid benefits for the care of its residents. This change also prompted the focus of service to shift from only direct care and medical services to the provision of more training and therapeutic services for the people who lived in the facility.
In 1985, a few Carson City families who were caring for their disabled children at home began asking about relief care for their children. The facility obliged by sending some trained staff into these homes to offer the parents a break.
This blossomed into a Respite Care Program that now serves more than sixty families who live within a 60-mile radius of Carson City. Eagle Valley Children’s Home employs a separate Respite workforce and spends in excess of $400,000 each year delivering services in the community to people with special needs and their families. Since there is no state or federal reimbursement for this program, the Respite Care Program is financed with grants, donations and other gifts.
In 1993, the Residential Program achieved a “deficiency-free” licensure survey from the Bureau of Licensure and Certification. Since that time, seventeen additional deficiency-free annual surveys have been achieved. In late fall of 2004, the Residential Program was moved into a new Service Building and Residential Building built immediately north of the old ranch buildings. The newer buildings are licensed to serve eighteen people who are assisted by three shifts of employees.
In the last two decades, some of Eagle Valley’s original property has been sold to Silver Oak Golf Course and to Carson-Tahoe Hospital. But the remaining acreage owned by the Nevada Children’s Foundation continues to be home to eighteen very special individuals who are currently aged 7 to 52 years. Eagle Valley Children’s Home currently employs a total of 84 people between its Residential and Respite Programs, and since 1988 has employed more than 1200. There is a strong core group of employees who have been with the Home for more than twenty years. The Director of Nursing has worked at Eagle Valley for more than thirty-five years, and the Dietary Supervisor, thirty-four. Although there are nursing, therapy, food service, laundry/housekeeping, maintenance, Respite, and administrative departments, the greatest number of people are employed in the Residential Department for direct care of the clients who live in the Home.
The mission of Eagle Valley Children’s Home in both its Respite Care and Residential Programs is to provide the highest quality of services to people who have significant disabilities and needs that are quite difficult to meet on an ongoing basis. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about us, please go to our website, http://www.evch.net, or call 775-882-1188 for information.
This article was written by Beverly Hennen, executive director of Eagle Valley Children’s Home. City National Bank sponsored this content.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.