During this unprecedented time the need for our services continue. You may not think of us in discussion about “essential services”, but we are often the most valuable support system to the youth and families we serve.This week has been a whirlwind for our front line workers, each following up with their kids and clients informing them of the new ways we will conduct visits and mental health sessions.
Kids in each of our programs have suffered many levels of trauma prior to receiving services with CHOICES…..abuse, neglect, food scarcity, removal from family, abandonment. Consider how this pandemic is affecting you and your family, and then consider how it also might be affecting them. This is why support of our mission is needed at this time. Our programs will continue, our kids need us in so many ways.
Our independent living team spent much of this week visiting every grocery store in the Miami Valley and the Greater Cincinnati area with independent living youth in tow, looking for the most basic of food items. While many of us were stocking up the pantry, our kids were struggling to find meat, milk, and paper goods as their ability to stock a pantry is limited. The level of commitment during this time makes all the difference in their well being. Currently 70% of our independent living youth are unemployed, our program is here to make sure the youth remain in their apartments, food is available, and their emotional needs are met during this time. Staff will continue to meet weekly with youth via video conferencing and/or phone.
Mental health continues to be a top priority across our home-based services program and all of our programs. Governor Dewine has made it possible for our services to continue via video conferencing and/or telephone contact. While it is not our first choice for therapy sessions, we will make it work. We are being innovative in learning ways to continue sessions that have the most benefit to our kids. In addition to the nearly 200 community based clients we serve, 70% of our foster youth and 45% of our independent living youth also receive mental health services with CHOICES.
Foster care is still needed at this time, our foster parents are taking on the same responsibilities as every other parent in the state while kids are home from school. The worries of foster youth are plenty…how long will I be in this home? Is there enough food? Will I get to go back to school to see my friends? How is my biological family? These are all questions our parents and caseworkers are addressing via virtual visits. So many of our kids have been excited about participation in spring sports teams, after school clubs and the excitement of prom. We have given our kids the chance to “look forward” to something and have had to take it away. Referrals for new foster care placements continue, and we expect them to increase when we resume some level of normalcy as a society.
We need your help, whether you can give $25 or $200 our programs are vital at this moment. We have to weather this storm together, we have no idea what lies ahead but we do know that safety continues to be an issue for many kids. Our foster care, independent living, and mental health services will always be critical programming needed for the youth in Southwest, Ohio. Donations can be made by clicking here or via venmo @choicesinc. Checks can be made out to CHOICES, Inc. and mailed to 1785 Big Hill Rd. Dayton, OH 45439.
We need your help to continue to be innovative with resources as we follow the guidelines of State Leaders and the CDC. Thank you for caring for our youth and families during this time!