Spring 2013 Newsletter
Just the facts ….a note from the Executive Director
Prove it. I don’t know about you, but I like to know the facts. I don’t want to get fooled by a catchy slogan or commercial jingle (although, my family would tell you that occasionally it takes days…maybe weeks… for a good radio advertisement to get out of my head.) But bottom line, I like to see the supporting data before I make a decision or before I argue a position. So, when companies or products make claims to “be the best” or to “save me money in the long run”, I want more information. I imagine you do too.
In this issue, we have some numbers and facts to share with you. Some of the numbers may shock you – like the frequency of child abuse and neglect in Illinois. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we want you to know the facts, but we also want you to know there are effective solutions. We will show you that together we can make a difference.
Last month, Voices for Illinois Children published their annual Kid’s Count report, sharing data and information by county on indicators such as pre-school enrollment, high school graduation rates, child abuse and access to health services. The Center for Youth and Family Solutions hosted one of the local media launches and we invite you to take a look at the full report.
This is a big month for us. The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is celebrating our 1st year anniversary! In the story below, we honor some of the special individuals and organizations who were key in making this year a success. When someone shares their own resources and talents with us, we believe it is our responsibility to show them results. We also believe our clients deserve interventions and programs that are proven to be effective. The mission of The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is to “engage and serve children and families in need with dignity, compassion, and respect by building upon individual and community strengths to resolve life challenges together.” Basically, that means in every situation, we focus on the innate strengths of all people we work with and we demonstrate that with the right support and resources people in crisis can achieve solutions in their lives. So, does it really work? Take a look at the article on our program results this past year. Let us prove it to you!
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions commemorates Child Abuse Prevention Month in April
Child Abuse and Neglect is a tragic phenomenon in our society and sadly the victims do not have a voice. In 2011 the US Department of Health and Human Services Child Maltreatment Report (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf) indicated that there were 687,000 substantiated reports of abuse and neglect child victims in the US out of over 2 million reports that were investigated. In Illinois there were 27,907 victims in substantiated reports out of 100,000 investigations in 2011.
By the numbers…. A Year in Review.
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions opened its doors one year ago on March 1, 2012. Since then, 400 staff have been providing services to help those whose lives have been touched by trauma, grief and loss, abuse and neglect, or other family life challenges. Throughout the year, local foundations, United Ways, donors and community volunteers partnered with us to support our programs and were instrumental in helping us achieve these results.
The major focus of our Youth, Family & Community Outreach Programs is to provide interventions to stabilize families in crisis and divert youth at risk of involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. Our Crisis Intervention program responds 24/7 to police calls involving runaways. This past year, 96% of all runaways we served returned to their families or to a family generated placement and were diverted from the child welfare system. In Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer counties, we provide a home based alternative to secure detention for delinquent youth. Through monitoring and short term case management services, we help youth make changes to avoid future criminal activity and stay out of expensive local detention centers. 84% of the youth were successfully discharged from the program last year with no further criminal activity or detainment. One of the services provided through our Community Area Projects includes after school programs. This past year, 92% of the youth improved their grades and were promoted to the next grade level. Research shows one of the most effective ways to improve a child’s future is to help them be successful in school.
The goal of our Child Welfare Programs is to ensure each child has a safe and stable family to grow up in. In FY13, we helped 318 children successfully leave foster care to either reunite with parents who had made significant changes or to become part of a forever family through adoption. Through our four different Adoption Services (infants, special needs, embryo, and foster parent), we placed 191 children with loving families between July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013. Guardian Angel, our comprehensive treatment center for boys, consistently earns high marks for effective therapeutic intervention and successfully discharging youth to family settings.
Our Comprehensive Behavioral Health Counseling Program provides individual, couple, and family counseling services to persons seeking relief from emotional and relationship problems. In 2013, 95% of our clients reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with their counseling services. Our New Day Senior Program in Peoria provides in-home counseling and volunteer companion services to older adults to address issues such as grief, depression, and isolation and support their ability to live independently. In 2013, 96% of the seniors we served continued to live at home.
Resolving crisis, learning new coping skills, reducing risks of abuse and neglect, building self-reliance – these are all positive outcomes in and of themselves, but it goes beyond that. Research also shows these interventions are an investment in the future – they reduce costly incarcerations of youth and costly nursing home placements, they result in better school performance and high school graduation rates which lead to more productive workforce. Our second year has made a difference in the lives of over 20,091 of people – maybe you, your neighbors, someone from your church, a child or senior you know. In the end, these differences strengthen our communities and touch us all.
Saying Thanks to Our Founding Partners
As we celebrate our one year anniversary, it’s the perfect time to reflect upon the generous support of our donors. We are truly inspired by those forward-thinking supporters who helped us begin our journey as The Center for Youth and Family Solutions. If you choose to read more, you will see a list of our Founding Partners. This group is made up of individuals, families, foundations, organizations and businesses who have donated $1,000 or more, or who have provided equivalent in kind critical business services or goods from the day we opened through June 30, 2013.
Each and every Founding Partner has impacted our programs in significant ways. When the founders of CYFS were in the planning stages of forming the agency, several foundations in the Quad Cities stepped forward to provide critical startup expenses. The Community Foundation of Great River Bend, the Doris and Victor Day Foundation, the Moline Foundation and The Rock Island Foundation all provided invaluable dollars that ensured a smooth transition for our programs and staff.
Others have provided valuable in kind donations and services. Staples in Pekin consistently donates supplies to our Tazewell County Area Project’s after school programs and summer camps, while the Caterpillar Foundation has continued to provide grant support for the program annually. This in kind support and funding provides meaningful activities for the kids in these programs and helps to offset program costs. When CYFS was formed, extensive legal services were needed to navigate the creation of a nonprofit. Jane Ohaver and Brian Johnson, both lawyers in the Peoria area, donated countless hours of their time to provide sound legal advice on everything from forming our entity, creating business partnerships, to building complex lease agreements.
These are just a few examples of the generosity bestowed upon CYFS by our supporters who passionately share in our mission to partner with individuals and families in need to overcome life’s challenges and make positive changes in their lives. If you are interested in becoming a Founding Partner, please contact us at 309-323-6600.
Macomb Mobilizes to Provide Food for the Hungry
In central Illinois alone, over 1.9 million individuals are faced with the painful reality of going hungry, according to US Census data. In Macomb, The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is working to combat this issue. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, CYFS partnered with the Riverbend Food Bank to provide food to over 100 families throughout McDonough county with a Mobile Food Pantry.
“The Riverbend Food Bank has chosen our area to participate in their mobile food pantries, and it is a huge help to our community,” said Carrie Depoy, Youth, Family and Community Outreach Supervisor for the Macomb office. “The number of people they have served continues to rise, ensuring the necessity of this program.”
CYFS Hosts Voices for Illinois Children Launch
On February 14, our office in Peoria hosted a media launch for the Voices for Illinois Children’s Kids Count 2013 Report, “Moving Policy, Making Progress”. The Peoria launch was one of six in communities across the state. In addition to numerous statewide indicators on education, health, and economic well-being, the report included county-level and school district data on child poverty, child abuse, foster care, children’s access to health care, preschool slots, and education funding.
At the Peoria launch, featured speakers included Kay Saving, MD, of The Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Patti Bash of The Hult Center for Health Education, Doug Allan of FamilyCore, Laraine Bryson of The Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League and Greg Westbrooks, the Director of Child Welfare Services at CYFS.
Our CEO Tricia Fox introduced the panelists saying, “Our community experts will remind us that our actions and the choices we make have a real impact on the lives of children and families. All of our panelists agree that when Illinois invests in programs that are proven effective in improving outcomes for children, the entire community benefits.”
The panelists noted several areas in the report where Illinois has made significant strides to improve the lives of children that are now at risk. For example, the nationally acclaimed model, Juvenile Redeploy Illinois, effectively reduced further criminal activity and decreased the number of incarcerated youth. But since FY 2009, state funding for delinquency prevention programs has been cut 37%. The report also notes that between 1998 and 2010, participation of children from low-income families in state-funded preschool programs doubled. However, in the last four years, budget cuts have resulted in an estimated 20,000 fewer pre-school slots. Patti Bash commented, “Research shows that children who attend preschool repeat grades less, they have fewer behavioral problems in school, they graduate at higher rates than their peers who don’t attend preschool, and they earn more as adults. No doubt, that is all good for kids and good for our communities.”
Larraine Bryson spoke to the issues of poverty and education, noting that the child poverty rate in Illinois increased from 14 to 20 percent between 1999 and 2011. The report revealed a rise in child poverty from 21 percent to 25 percent in Peoria County, from 7 percent to 13 percent in Tazewell County, and from 6 percent to 13 percent in Woodford County. For statistics on your county, see the full report on the Voices website at www.voices4kids.org.
The report also discusses child abuse and foster care rates by county. Greg Westbrooks pointed out that while once a more significant issue in Cook County, 62% of the children in foster care are now from outside Cook County. Westbrooks encouraged the audience to continue investing in preventative programs that get results, commenting, “In the end, it’s easier to change your oil than to change your engine.”
Each of the speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration between social service agencies due to reduced state funding. They suggested that Illinois policy makers, facing tough budget decisions, should be cautious when suggesting cuts to funding for programs that are effectively addressing problems and reducing long term costs
Our new website is live: cyfsolutions.org
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is proud to announce the launch of a newly redesigned, user-friendly website (https://www.cyfsolutions.org). This new site houses a wealth of information for both current and potential clients, social service professionals, community members and donors.
The website features resources for foster and adoptive caregivers and families, information on how to get more involved with CYFS through volunteering and donating, and an interactive events calendar. In addition, the website welcomes visitors to explore different services such as Comprehensive Behavioral Health Counseling, Crisis Pregnancy Counseling, and the Intact Family Intervention program. Community members have access to the Youth, Family & Community Outreach Services resources, and families hoping to support the seniors in their life have information on program outcomes, testimonials and local resources.
CYFSolutions.org also features a blog section, updated by CYFS staff, which includes commentary on critical social issues, and how CYFS services and advocacy make a difference in our communities.
We invite you to visit the site today and learn more about what The Center for Youth and Family Solutions has to offer. Share with family, friends and co-workers to continue raising awareness about agency activities, programs and services in their local communities.