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Author seeks $500,000 to fund services for kids

Richard Paul Evans, author of "The Christmas Box," asked a legislative committee to appropriate money to serve children in state custody.

Evans' Christmas Box Foundation has raised nearly $2 million and secured a plot of land in Salt Lake County to build the facility. The Christmas Box House would be a 15,000-square-foot facility housing all services needed for children who are taken from their homes because of possible abuse and neglect.But the foundation is asking lawmakers for $500,000 to help pay for services at the house. Evans said the money will allow for assessments, which will eventually save the state money and increase the number and quality of foster homes.

"We see this model you're proposing as a winner for the state but, more importantly, a winner for children," said Rep. J. Brent Haymond, R-Springville.

The House Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee will decide on the funding later in the session.