Mission: To empower girls and young women to have productive lives through holistic, gender-specific programs, education and experiences.
These strengths-based services provide a continuum of care based on a girl’s chronological and developmental needs. We have developed our conceptual program model based on research findings and best practices – working from a positive perspective to build upon each girl’s personal strengths and provide opportunities and experiences for each girl to be successful. Our holistic programming approach is based on addressing the ten pathways, or life domains, that are critical to a girl’s development and future success. Since we began service delivery in May 2002, we have built a unique continuum of services to respond to the needs and challenges that girls are experiencing at a particular point of time.
Through a comprehensive assessment, these life domains are then translated into an individualized “pathway” plan that is developed in partnership with each girl, her family, Gwen’s Girls staff and other involved agencies. Each girl’s needs-based screening and assessment will determine her comprehensive care model, including the intensity of services and which programs/services in our unique continuum of care will be provided.Gwen''s Girls offers prevention services; family reunification services; a residential program for delinquent and dependent girls – including pregnant and parenting adolescents; a foster care program; school and community-based services; summer camp; a job readiness program that includes academic enrichment and tutoring, career guidance, and job shadowing; individual and family/group counseling; therapeutic groups; health and wellness workshops; life skills; suspension and truancy programs; and mentoring. Our Continuum of Services slide is attached to this profile.Please visit our new web site www.gwensgirls.org to view our videos.
Results: In March 2006 we accomplished our goal of opening a group home on the Northside for court-adjudicated pregnant and parenting girls. Gwen’s Girls Group Home builds upon our mission by creating a holistic, full-service, safe and nurturing environment for pregnant girls and their babies. We provide education and support for both the mother and child to develop fully in terms of health and wellness, education, and job and life skills—as they move toward self-sufficiency. Gwen’s Girls also provides residential services to girls that are not pregnant and parenting. We also established a Foster Care Program in January 2007. While providing reunification services, it became quickly evident that in order to provide a supportive continuum for the girls and their families, it was important that we expand our services to include foster care for children who may not be able to remain in their homes for a variety of reasons. The addition of foster care to Gwen’s Girls continuum of services meets the needs of these girls and adds to the county’s resources as well.
Target demographics: Girls ages 8 to 18, Allegheny County and their families
Direct beneficiaries per year: Prevention Services—61 girls and their families; Reunification Services—43 girls and their families; Group Home 34 girls and babies; School Based 135
Geographic areas served: Currently, we provide prevention and intervention services to girls who reside in Wilkinsburg, East Liberty, Homewood and Point Breeze. We provide reunification services for girls who reside in Allegheny County. Gwen’s Girls also provides school based programs.
All of our programs and services are designed to educate, improve, and improve each girl’s ability to achieve success in facing a variety of challenges as she grows and develops into adulthood. Prevention services assist and empower girls to realize their strengths, to build a pathway for success, and to become part of their community. They include case management/care coordination; psycho-educational groups; therapeutic groups; health and wellness education; mentoring; summer camp; and a comprehensive job readiness and education program.