The SaintA Youth Transitioning to Adulthood (YTA) Program has expanded its services and moved its offices to the south side of SaintA’s main campus on Capitol Drive and 88th Street. On March 15, staff held an Open House for colleagues and community partners.
In attendance were numerous SaintA staff, representing child welfare, clinical training, human resources and family services. Also in attendance were representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and community partners, such as Care4Kids from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Five Pillars of Stability
“YTA programming is centered on the Five Pillars of Stability,” said SaintA CEO Ann Leinfelder Grove in her opening remarks.
“This space supports the mission of helping youth achieve stability by providing resources for education, employment, health and housing. The fifth pillar is caring connections, otherwise known as relationships,” Leinfelder Grove continues.
YTA staff consists of youth case managers, community outreach specialists, and peer mentors, many with first-hand experience with aging out of foster care.
The new space includes a kitchen, bathroom, on-site laundry and computer access. “The purpose of moving into this space is to give our youth a central location; a space that feels homier and allows them to tend to specific needs,” says Gina Branch, YTA Program Manager.
Branch went on to thank Wisconsin DCF for making the youth program expansion possible. She also thanked all the youth transitioning to adulthood staff for their commitment to its clients.
Stable Youth Become Stable Adults
Youth who age out of foster care are at increased risk for homelessness, joblessness, food insecurity and high costs of healthcare. Formerly called Independent Living Services, SaintA YTA has seen promising results in key stability areas for young adults.
In 2016, 95% of SaintA YTA clients, ages 18-24, had stable housing compared to 69% of youth in a study from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago*.
Seventy-five percent of SaintA youth were employed, compared to 50% of youth in the Chapin Hall study. In addition, about 30% of SaintA youth had completed or were currently enrolled in post-high school studies and 100% were enrolled in health insurance plans in 2016.
“Our youth can thrive when they are treated equitably and have the support of caring adults,” says Leinfelder Grove. “It’s just one way SaintA is committed to helping our community members build new connections, or restore the ones that had been lost due to childhood adversity.”
The SaintA YTA expansion is possible because of a contract with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and additional operations are funded primarily by donations. Please consider making a donation today.
*The Midwest Evaluation of Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 26, (2011).