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Wisconsin Association For Runaway Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

Mission: The mission of wisconsin association for runaway services, inc. Is to provide the best, most efficient, and effective services to runaway and homeless youth, including those who are pregnant and/or parenting. Wisconsin association for runaway services, inc. , through a cooperative, strategically organized system between private member agencies, provides programs that strengthen families, prevent family dissolution, promote self-sufficiency, and assure safe, stable, and supportive homes for youth, young parents and their children.

Programs: Job training and counselingjob training and counseling programs include the wisconsin transitional living programs and americorps program. Transitional living programs are aimed to provide longer term residential services to homeless youth ages 16-21 for up to 18 months. These services are designed to help youth who are homeless make a successful transition to self-sufficient living. The following services are provided through the transitional living program: safe, stable living accommodations; basic life-skill building, including consumer education and instruction in budgeting, using credit, housekeeping, menu planning, food preparation, and parenting skills; interpersonal skill building, including enhancing young people's abilities to establish positive relationships with peers and adults, make decisions, and manage stress; educational opportunities, such as ged preparation, postsecondary training, or vocational education; assistance in job preparation and attainment, such as career counseling and job placement; education, information, and counseling to prevent, treat, and reduce substance abuse; mental health care, including individual and group counseling; physical health care, including routine physicals, health assessments, and emergency treatment. Runaway programs have seen major increases in homeless youth. These youth, who live on the street, are in very high risk situations, with few resources and virtually no support system. As a response to this phenomenon, the wisconsin association for runaway services, in collaboration with the wisconsin board for national and community service, provides a team of americorps members to provide street outreach services and mobile response teams for referrals from police departments, schools, and other youth serving agencies. The americorps members are available to youth who are homeless, runaways, or in crisis and are therefore on the street. Members frequent areas in the community where youth congregate, such as parks, malls, convenience stores, etc. Youth are provided with hygiene packets, food vouchers, transportation vouchers, clothes, educational materials, and, most importantly, referral services to provide them with safe alternatives to the street. The members also are available to police and school personnel, by responding directly to referrals. Twenty-five americorps members are providing these outreach services in 36 counties, ensuring runaway, homeless, and youth in crisis have a strong support system and alternatives to the street.

networking and outreachnetworking and outreach programs include the street outreach program. The goals of the progarm are to strengthen families, prevent family dissolution, promote self-sufficiency, and assure permanent, stable, homes for youth. Programs provide youth and their families with preventive and crisis individual, family and group intervention, temporary shelter, crisis hotlines, aftercare services, outreach, and community education. The programs provide youth with direct access to resources through a mobile youth outreach worker, provide youth with counseling, temporary shelter, 24 hour crisis hotlines, and after care services, reunite 90% of street youth served through the runaway program with their families or have them placed in a mutually agreed upon safe alternate living arrangement, provide outreach and referral services to street youth and implement positive community relations, provide street youth with educational materials specifically geared towards addressing issues of sexual exploitation, pregnancy prevention, and substance abuse. In addition, the programs provide opportunities for street outreach program mutual support and information sharing, provide on-site and 24 hour phone technical assistance to street outreach programs, provide on-site technical assistance on street outreach program development/implementation, provide/coordinate pre-service training of street outreach workers and ongoing educational workshops/staff training, coordinate educational and promotional material development and resource sharing, carry out fiscal and all other reporting responsibilities in connection with proposal funding, and provide ongoing evaluation of program through site visits and coordinate peer review process.

runaway youth servicesa runaway service facility provides temporary shelter and crisis intervention counseling services to runaways and other youth in crisis. Crisis intervention counseling is also provided for parents and families. Agencies make every effort to encourage family members to participate with youth in counseling. Runaway programs accept self-referrals and voluntary referrals from youth, caregivers, families, and agencies with youth free to discontinue use of service to any time. Crisis intervention services are available to any youth or parent requesting assistance. All services are free of charge and available on a 24 hour basis. Runaway programs act to prevent runaway episodes by follow up, aftercare, and preventative activities. Programs involve service linkages with youth serving public and private sector agencies, insuring cooperative relations and effective referrals. The runaway program must have plans for meeting the best interests of the youth involving, whenever possible, both the youth and caregivers. In runaway programs, a unique counselor-client relationship is established, which stresses the qualities of trust and confidentiality. Youth make their own decisions in a supportive environment with appropriate advice as to their alternatives.

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