Dear Friends of SaintA:
A recent survey of our Independent Living Services clients revealed an interesting paradox. The vast majority of the 18-25-year-old former foster youth who were surveyed said they had witnessed – or even, experienced – violence. Yet, a very small percentage described their neighborhoods as being “unsafe.”
This made us wonder if violence is the new normal and if Milwaukee’s young people have come to accept it as part of life. However, to us, violence and other forms of childhood adversity are anything but acceptable. That’s why many of our program expansions in 2015 were focused on preventing circumstances that result in children being removed from their homes, and on providing services to stabilize the entire family.
Last year, we strengthened our partnerships with Milwaukee Public Schools, the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services and several family services organizations to extend the reach of our Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program for at-risk youth, ages 11-18 years old, which builds on family strengths. This gave us the critical opportunity to focus on preventive therapies and help families stay together. You can read an FFT case study here.
In 2015, we also became an approved Parent Assistant provider for Milwaukee County Delinquency Services, which allows us to assist parents in steering their children onto better paths in school, relationships and life.
Also at the end of last year, we expanded our community services to support additional counties throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Integrated Community Treatment encompasses School-Based Services, Mental Health Consultations and Birth to Three Supervision for clients in Washington and Racine counties.
Our geographic reach didn’t stop there. In 2015, we expanded Treatment Foster Care in central and northwestern Wisconsin. With that, we saw an increase in total number of licensed homes and a double-digit increase in the number of children who found placement in safe, trauma-informed homes. Read about one of our trailblazing western Wisconsin homes here.
Amidst all the expansion, we paused for a moment to celebrate 165 Years of Compassion and Caring. Nearly 300 guests attended a dinner event with Dr. Bruce Perry, nationally-renowned expert on Trauma Informed Care and $55,000 was raised to provide support to youth aging out of foster care.
There is still much work to be done. We’re very grateful for the guidance of our Board of Directors, the support of our donors and our community partnerships, all of which allow us to provide treatment, prevention and stability for some of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable children and families.
Teri Zywicki, President, CEO Brian Pier, Board Chair