Community invited to grand opening of Eastern Shoshone Children’s Lodge

    (Ft. Washakie, WY) – Eastern Shoshone Department of Family Services is extending an invitation to the community for the grand opening of the Eastern Shoshone Children’s Lodge. Guests are invited to attend a special ceremony on July 10 at 10:30 am at the Shoshone Rose Casino & Hotel Conference Room. 

    “It’s with great pleasure and excitement that we announce the opening of a very special place for our Eastern Shoshone children,” said Director of ESDFS Vernalyn Bearing. “This new home will serve as a safe place for them.”  

    Earlier this year, Bearing announced plans to open the facility, later named the Eastern Shoshone Children’s Lodge. After receiving her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver, her next goal was to create a group home for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe to assist tribal children experiencing out of home placement and adverse childhood experiences. With valuable contributions from community member Rahel Manna, both she and Bearing were able to accomplish their goal. 


    “Eastern Shoshone children will receive the proper care and attention that may be lacking in their lives,” said Shoshone Business Council Chairman John St. Clair. 

    The home will provide temporary care for children who are taken into protective custody. The Lodge allows the initial child protection process to be thorough while searching for the safest out of home placement.  Rather than traveling far or being placed in other group homes, this home owned by the Shoshone Tribe is now an option. The exact location is being kept confidential in order to protect families and children.   

    Through grant funding, and many donations, Bearing said this dream is finally coming true.  

    “At one time this was just a wish on a wish list when I was a caseworker, ‘I wished we had a group home,” Bearing said, noting the diligent work it took to obtain a group home.


    Qualified staff will be available to help children work through trauma while also taking into account their ages and individual situations. The home will be able to take a maximum of 14 children, but exceptions may be made if, for example, a larger sibling group is to be taken in. Federal and state regulations prohibit going over the limit of children, but Bearing explained that because this is a tribally-run operation, the director will be able to assess each situation and make decisions based upon the wellbeing of the children. 


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