Hutton House is there when teens need a place to get help

(Laurie McAdam / The Modesto Bee)
(Laurie McAdam / The Modesto Bee)

No one should be happy when a child is in crisis. Lives in crisis impact the community, families, and everyone else in many ways, mostly emotionally.

Hutton House in Modesto is a special, although temporary, home for teens, ages 13-17. They may have run away, they may be homeless, or they may be dealing with other serious issues.

Hutton House provides a 24-hour crisis line, an assessment of the needs of teens who arrive there, counseling, substance abuse assessments and education, volunteer programs, aftercare, parental support and education, referrals and drop-in counseling services.

It is a very nice shelter that looks like any home. It even has a big family room where you can watch TV and a large kitchen where meals are prepared. It has a friendly atmosphere where teens can kick back with other teens or can visit privately with counselors.

Residents have experienced such things as getting arrested for possession of drugs, not getting along with their parents, gang-related issues, etc. One teen is on probation, some have been in and out of juvenile hall. They found out about Hutton House through either juvenile hall, police, or — in some cases — their parents.

Teens currently residing at Hutton House had this to say:

"It keeps me out of trouble." — Latriese

"It gives me a place to go when in crisis." — Joseph

"Gave me people to talk to and provides counseling." — Ariel

"It keeps me away from drugs and gangs." — David.

The teens are even allowed to stay overnight, up to two weeks at a time. This can give them a break away from the pressures of home. It is also, in most cases, enough time to alleviate the crisis.

About half of the teens that make their way to Hutton House are runaways. About 86 percent of them end up being reunited with their families, or find other living arrangements to suit their situation.

The shelter is provided by the Center for Human Services and has been in existence since 1976. It provides services to teens and their families and always welcomes donations to help keep its programs running.