Jamison program director speaks during Child Prevention Month

Tim Stevens, program director of the Jamison Children’s Center

Photos and Story by Catherine Stachowiak 

Tim Stevens, program director of the Jamison Children’s Center spoke at the Kern Valley Exchange Club at a Paradise Club Lodge luncheon, in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Stevens took over the Jamison Children’s Center, in Bakersfield, two years ago.

He said the center is the tip of the spear for those children going into foster care after an investigation found a child’s circumstances to be unsafe in their living situations. 

Once authorities determine there is no one available to take the child to safety, “Where do they go? They’re going to go to the Jamison Children’s Center,” he said.

The center is a one-stop shop focused on informed care, which attempts to place the child in a more ideal situation particularly with family.  

The center has mental health professionals available, nurses, teachers and school, and 

emergency foster home placement.  The center assists children traumatized by removal from their home situation and kids, which suffer from food insecurities.  

The larger numbers the center housed in the 80s and 90s was far higher than today’s lower numbers. Average stay times have decreased for children at the center in recent years.  The average stay is 3 or 4 days, Stevens said.  

Jamison Children’s Center has different units to house children according to age levels and to place more aggressive or challenging children in a different unit.

The center has security measures to prevent children from being trafficked and abducted or lured from the facility.

“We have a good relationship with our community partners,” Stevens said. 

Law enforcement has trained their personnel to work with the children the center houses, some of which have behavioral challenges.

The center is doing some upgrades, getting painted, upgrading flooring and recently upgraded the air conditioning.  They received a grant for an awning over the center’s basketball court to help with heat during hot summers.