BACK TO SHELTER: Geraldine Parsons spent 14 years working at the Pathways Youth Shelter before it closed in 2012. Parsons will return to serve area children when the shelter reopens later this month. Parsons said that the kitchen was her office seeing as how much time she spent there preparing meals for the residents. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
BACK TO SHELTER: Geraldine Parsons spent 14 years working at the Pathways Youth Shelter before it closed in 2012. Parsons will return to serve area children when the shelter reopens later this month. Parsons said that the kitchen was her office seeing as how much time she spent there preparing meals for the residents. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
The Pathways Youth Shelter & Family Services will reopen as a temporary housing facility for local youth later this month.

The shelter will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 10 and an open house March 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. The first day of operations is tentatively set March 17.

The shelter will serve children ages 10 to 18. There will be a maximum of 12 beds available.

While the organization's programs continued - such as Safe Place and Youth as Resources - the shelter was suspended in September 2012. The Pathways board of directors ultimately voted to close the doors of the facility following cuts by the Department of Child Services to the Pathways' budget.

To reopen, board members had to apply for new licensing from the DCS. The state deactivated Pathways' license after the shelter service was suspended, said Pathways Executive Director Troy Hedges, but it since has reissued the shelter a license for four years.

The state revisited the Madison facility's operations and agreed that it should be reopened.

Hedges said the effort to reopen the shelter began July 2013, and soon began focusing its finances toward reopening and supporting the shelter.

Hedges said funding comes from the DCS, foundation grants and private donors. The annual budget for Pathways is between $350,000 and $400,000 - with $250,000 devoted to running the shelter.

Last summer, Pathways also began identifying a need in the community in order to convince DCS to back the effort. Hedges estimated that about eight Madison children each month are placed in facilities at nearby counties. Those children could have otherwise used Pathways, he said.

"(The board) felt they wanted to go back to why the shelter was purchased," Hedges, referring to the facility on East Street in downtown Madison.

The shelter needs a staff of about 10, Hedges said. Those already hired are in the process of gaining their certifications to work with the children.

Geraldine Parsons, of Madison, has agreed to rejoin the staff. Parsons had worked at the facility for 14 before it was shut down.

She primarily worked third shift, often as a cook and caretaker. She worked at the Women's Correctional Facility before accepting the job again at the shelter.

"I just can't see myself doing anything else," she said.