Laying a foundation of hope since 1984

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1 Laying a foundation of hope since 1984 ACS provides residential and non-residential services to children, youth, and families. Since 1984, ACS has been committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Over the past 30 years our mission has grown beyond crisis services to include long-term support, education and prevention programs aimed at ending child abuse in our community. In 2013 ACS began adding a suite of comprehensive and innovative programs to address child abuse in our community and stregthen families. We have also added foster placing services that provide rigorous screening, preparation, and ongoing support for private homes providing foster care. Austin Children s Shelter Residential Programs Emergency Shelter Teen Parent Program Transitional Living Program Respite Care Community-Based Programs Community-based programs and services to strengthen and support families and prevent abuse. Care Academy Foster in Austin Strong Start

2 EMERGENCY SHELTER CARE Providing a safe haven and an opportunity to begin to heal. The Issue The State of Texas removed more than 17,000 children from heir homes last year due to abuse or neglect. Once removed from their homes, these children are moved to different placements in foster homes, group facilities, or other living arrangements, an average of 2.5 times while they re in the state s care. Older children, whose longterm goal is emancipation from the state s care, experience an average of 7.5 placements. With each placement, research shows that a child loses educational and developmental progress. Emergency shelter was the first service ACS ever provided, in recognition that kids who have experienced trauma deserve to feel safe, listened to, and protected. ACS staff is trained in the protocols of trauma-informed care, to ensure a consistent and supportive approach to kids in crisis. Whether they re with us for only a few nights or are preparing to enter one of our other long-term residential programs, the children we serve in emergency shelter receive: Individual and group therapy Medical, vision, and dental care Educational assistance and tutoring Support and encouragement in 2013, Emergency Shelter served 177 children, with the longest stay of 123 days.

3 TRANSITIONAL LIVING PROGRAM Preparing youth to make a successful transition to independent living. The Issue Without family or a reliable support network, kids who age out of the state s care are at high risk of homelessness, incarceration, addiction, welfare dependency, early pregnancy, illness, and physical abuse. ACS Transitional Living Program offers a pathway to successful independent life for teens and young adults. Dedicated staff works with kids on an education or employment plan. A full kitchen provides young adults an opportunity to learn how to shop and cook for themselves. TLP residents also have access to: On-site health clinic Counseling and psychiatric care Financial literacy training Life skills training Job skills training Residents in our TLP program usually stay for longer than six months, as they gain the skills and connections they need to build successful adult lives. In 2013, 30 teens and young adults were served by this program, with the longest stay of 4 years adn 70 days.

4 TEEN PARENT PROGRAM Helping young parents break the cycle of abuse and neglect. The Issue Young women in the state s care are more likely to get pregnant than their peers. Yet they often don t have the support or the practical education needed to become effective parents. ACS Teen Parent Program gives young women who have grown up in the foster care system or in abusive or neglectful homes the support and education they need to care for their children and build independent lives. Our focus on positive parenting skills and building a strong supportive community to help teens break the generational cycle of violence. Staff members also work with the teens to develop and work toward education and employment goals. All residents also have access to: Group, individual and family therapy, including play therapy Positive parenting coaching Child care while the parent is at school or working Connection to other community services Educational and career planning Financial literacy training On-site health clinic Residents of our Teen Parent Program usually stay for longer than six months, and leave when they re prepared to live independently. In 2013, the Teen Parent Program served 23 parents and 24 infants/toddlers, with the longest stay of 565 days.

5 RESPITE CARE Enhancing family stability and well-being. The Issue Due to the trauma they ve suffered, kids who have been abused or neglected often exhibit behaviors that can be very challenging. Foster and adoptive parents who are unprepared for these challenges experience increased stress. Eventually, foster and adoptive parents can decide to give up on a placement, convinced that they are unable to manage these challenging behaviors on their own. This in turn causes further trauma to the child, as he or she is uprooted once again. A short, pre-defined respite stay on our residential campus can reduce the stress level for both children and their caregivers. Provided as a free service to all of ACS Foster in Austin families, Respite Care is also available to caregivers through local referring agencies such as Austin/Travis County Integral Care (as part of a contract specifically serving children with emotional or developmental disabilities), SafePlace, and others. In 2013, ACS provided respite care to 12 children. Because respite stays are short and the program is small, there is no dedicated budget for the program.

6 The Issue Foster families are the cornerstone of the State of Texas strategy to care for abused and neglected kids. But a lack of consistent training and realistic expectations can lead to failed foster placements, which are painful and damaging to kids who have already suffered trauma and abuse. With extensive preparation, 24-hour on-call technical assistance, regular home visits and scheduled respite care, ACS has developed a program that offers significant supports for foster parents, and advances the concept of shared parenting of the child. The goal is to make and support placements that will last, thereby enhancing the child s developmental and educational growth. We do this by: Pre-placement & on-going training 24 hour-a-day staff support for families Team support to help meet the children s individual needs Access to respite care Additionally, Foster in Austin allows ACS to provide wrap-around services for the children and families we serve in our other residential and community-based programs. For example, teen parents who are not yet ready to take on the full responsibility of parenting have been able to place their children with Foster in Austin families, ensuring familiarity and consistency which has the added benefit of reducing trauma for young children. A new program in 2013, Foster in Austin has built the infrastructure to train families and place children, and by early 2014 had placed 6 children into homes that are prepared and supported.

7 The Issue Foster families are the cornerstone of the State of Texas strategy to care for abused and neglected kids. But a lack of consistent training and realistic expectations can lead to failed foster placements, which are painful and damaging to kids who have already suffered trauma and abuse. With extensive preparation, 24-hour on-call technical assistance, regular home visits and scheduled respite care, ACS has developed a program that offers significant supports for foster parents, and advances the concept of shared parenting of the child. The goal is to make and support placements that will last, thereby enhancing the child s developmental and educational growth. We do this by: Pre-placement & on-going training 24 hour-a-day staff support for families Team support to help meet the children s individual needs Access to respite care Additionally, Foster in Austin allows ACS to provide wrap-around services for the children and families we serve in our other residential and community-based programs. For example, teen parents who are not yet ready to take on the full responsibility of parenting have been able to place their children with Foster in Austin families, ensuring familiarity and consistency which has the added benefit of reducing trauma for young children. Opened in February 2014, Care Academy serves children ages 3 months to 5 years. The program has the capacity to serve 60 children at any given time. The program also serves families from the surrounding community to ensure a diverse learning environment.

8 The Issue Thousands of families with young children in Austin are living with extreme stress. Whether they re struggling with financial or housing issues, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, a history of abuse and neglect in their own families, or a combination of some or all of these, studies show that these at-risk families are more likely to abuse or neglect their own children. Through its distinct sub-programs, STRONG START works therapeutically with children and families to prevent child abuse and make long-term changes, including decreasing negative behaviors and improving social emotional development, while working with parents to decrease harsh parental discipline and teach effective parenting skills. Families voluntarily participate in the unique combination of sub-programs that meet their needs, free of charge. Services include a therapeutic early childhood classroom, parent education and coaching, mental health services and other long-term supports. Based on the Eugene, Oregon Relief Nursery model, Strong Start served 234 individuals from 102 families in Most families remain in the program for 6-18 months.

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