Utah support centers help parents at breaking point heal instead of harm

Recent child abuse homicide cases point to a need to highlight resources available to overwhelmed parents

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Parents experiencing a crisis oftentimes take it out on their little ones, sometimes physically; but there is help and hope available in Utah.

The Family Support Center, with several locations throughout the greater Salt Lake area, is one of those resources.

“Children oftentimes become the target of misdirected rage and anger,” said Kellie Mieremet, volunteer coordinator at The Family Support Center, which provides “crisis nurseries” for parents who need time away from their children. The centers, located in West Valley City, Midvale, and Sugar House, provide services free of charge and serve to give parents a break so that children can remain safe.

Except in extreme child abuse or neglect cases, these non-profit caregivers won’t make parents feel bad for needing a breather.

“Utilizing the Family Support Center does not mean an open DCFS case,” Mieremet said. “Utilizing the Family Support Center and crisis nurseries allows parents to go and take the time that they need so that it doesn’t get to the level of abuse and neglect.”

The latest statistics from the Utah Dept. of Health show more than half of child homicides resulted from injuries due to abuse between 2005 to 2007.

More recently, Utah has seen horrific cases of child abuse homicide where parents lost control at their breaking point. In 2017, 19-year-old Clint Nokes’ month-old son died after Nokes lost control when the child would not stop crying. In 2018, Matthew Graves was charged with aggravated murder when he beat a one-month old child he was caring for to death after that child wouldn’t stop crying.

Crisis centers around Utah are available, as well as other resources for parents who need help.


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