The Extended Family Support Program provides short term services to relative caregivers that are not involved in the formal child welfare system. The goals of EFS are to:
- Assist relative caregivers in obtaining private guardianship of the child
- Assist relative caregivers in obtaining the child-only grant and/or other services
- Assist school aged children in enrolling in the relative caregiver’s school system
- Assist in obtaining basic goods and services needed to maintain a stable home for the child
- Link relative caregivers to community resources to meet other needs
In collaboration with the 17th Judicial Court, DCFS, Rosecrance, and Tasc, Family Drug Court is designed to help children be reunited with their parents who are working on recovery. YSN provides the mental health assessment and services to the parents.
The GIFT counseling program serves youth who have been sexually and/or physically abused or are victims of domestic violence. Services offered include individual and family counseling for children and non-offending parents. Parent coaching, therapeutic visitation and individualized parent education sessions are also offered. All services are trauma-informed and community-based. Medicaid and some MCO providers are accepted. DCFS and private agency referrals are accepted.
IPS provides psychotherapy, intensive case management and wraparound services to foster children and foster families in order to maintain and to strengthen family units. The goals of IPS are:
- Ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children
- Stabilize foster care placements
- Facilitate youth development
- Referrals are made by DCFS and POS agency staff
- YSN provides IPS services in Winnebago, Boone, and McHenry Counties
The Life Skills program, which is based on the evidence-based Casey Life Skills Assessment, provides age appropriate life skill activities to youth in DCFS care. YSN provides individualized or group training to achieve the highest priority learning goals that promote self-sufficiency. YSN utilizes “learning by doing” training methods. The primary goal is to help youth develop the tools needed to better transition to independent living and to prepare for post-secondary education or vocational training.
The goal of Parenthood Promise is to provide a holistic, strength-based support to Ellis Elementary families by working with parents to ensure children graduate from high school. Monthly Child and Family Team meetings and weekly case management for the parents allows for individual and family goal planning. Tutoring and mentoring are provided to the children. There are Parent Empowerment workshops and cultural enrichment activities for the entire family. A Parent Advisory Board helps determine the activities for PHP families. Parenthood Promise is modeled after Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone.
Youth Services Network operates two emergency youth shelters. One shelter for young men (The Bridge) and one shelter for young women (MELD), including young women with children. Both shelters are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services to house residents between the ages of 14 – 21. The Bridge is licensed for 6 youth, and the MELD shelter is licensed for 16 youth. Both shelters are staffed twenty-four hours per day. While at the shelter, the needs of each young person/family are assessed and appropriate linkages to other community agencies, schools, etc. are made. Community staffings are held with all agencies involved with the person/family and a service plan is agreed upon and implemented. The main goal of both shelters is to transition the youth and their families into stable housing.
Youth Services Network has a total of 16 apartments for young women and their families ages 17-24. Young families interested in the Transitional Living Program are referred to the program through the City of Rockford’s Single Point of Entry (SPOE) system. Parents live with their children in apartments and are responsible for paying their own rent, based on their income, and maintaining their living residence. Families with no previous experience at living on their own reside in the Phase II level, located on the third floor of the MELD at YSN shelter. Those with some independent living experience, enter the program at the Phase III level, living in YSN apartments located in the community. The goal of the Transitional Living Program is to develop the appropriate independent Living skills necessary to be self-sufficient in permanent housing.
Youth Services Network provides permanent housing for homeless young men and homeless young families between the ages of 18-24. There are currently 6 permanent housing units for young men and 12 permanent housing units for young families. Services provided include assessment and case management, short and long-term rental subsidies, and linkage and referral to other community agencies, as needed. The primary focus of this program is housing stabilization.
Youth Services Network partners with the City of Rockford’s Single Point of entry (SPOE) system to provide outreach and intensive case management support to youth who are currently homeless, at risk of homelessness, or formerly homeless. Youth, in the community, who are not residing in one of the above listed programs are eligible to receive services to help obtain and maintain stable housing. This program has been developed with the Rock River Homeless Coalition, with an emphasis on ending youth homelessness in Winnebago/Boone counties.
Youth Services Network partnered with Region 1 Planning, the Rockford Police Department, and the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation to develop a program for trauma-impacted boys, ages 11-16, who are marginally involved in the Juvenile Justice System, or who are at risk of becoming involved. The boys all have family, school, and community issues. Each youth receives a mental health and trauma assessment, which aids in developing a treatment plan. The YSN Parent Engagement Specialist leads a Wraparound staffing with the youth and parent to finalize a treatment plan. Each youth receives individual counseling, family counseling, if needed, case management, tutoring, school advocacy, group counseling, and life skill training by YSN staff. The District 2 Rockford Police provide leadership skills, mentoring, and recreation. The Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation provides computer literacy, computer programming, music education, and music recording. The goal of the program is to deter boys from becoming heavily involved in the Juvenile Justice System..
CCBYS provides 24-hour crisis intervention services to youth who have runaway from home, who have been locked out of their homes by their parents, or who are out of the control of their parents. The goal of the CCBYS program is to maintain youth safely in their homes or in the homes of adults selected by their parents/guardians. Counseling, case management, school advocacy, and other necessary services are provided. DCFS is contacted if abuse or neglect is suspected.
YSN is proud of its partnership with the City of Rockford Fire Department and the City of Belvidere Fire Department in the implementation of Project Safe Place. The fire departments act as “safe places for runaways and victims of domestic violence.” YSN is contacted for services 24-hours per day for the youth who ask for assistance at the fire stations.
Redeploy for Boys and Girls is designed for youth who have committed a minimum of one felony and are at risk of going to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. Youth with sexual offenses or Class X felonies are not eligible for Redeploy. Youth are referred by Winnebago County Juvenile Probation and court-ordered by the juvenile court judge. Each youth receives a Mental Health Assessment, a Trauma Assessment, and a Substance Abuse Assessment. A Wraparound staffing is held to develop a treatment plan. Each youth receives individual and group counseling, tutoring, recreation, life skill training, job skill training, educational advocacy, and other services deemed necessary by the youth, parent, and staff. The youth remain in the program for 12-18 months depending upon their success. The goal is for the youth to not commit any additional crimes that will force their containment in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.
Behavior Intervention Specialists are an integral component of the staff at 10 Rockford School District elementary schools. Each school utilizes the Connected Schools Model, which is designed to connect students and staff to essential elements that promote school success for all. The BIS work closely with school administrators and staff to decrease the need for suspension.
Young Moms’ Parenting Support groups provide information, parenting education, and parenting support to moms in the Rockford High Schools. Young moms come together to discuss parenting, child development, interpersonal relationships, life skills, and other related topics. Groups meet weekly in all five high schools. The goal of the program is to prevent child abuse and neglect, secondary pregnancies, and give young families the skills and support to become self-directed, and self-sufficient members of the community.
The Truancy Intervention program is a research model of treatment for issues surrounding school attendance and truancy. Thirteen YSN staff, together with Rockford Public School 205 staff, work with students and families to reduce missed school days and to reduce tardies. YSN staff assess the reasons for poor attendance and work with the parents and the school staff to reduce the barriers preventing school attendance. Interventions include: letters, phone calls, home visits, counseling, parent conferences, staff conferences, Wraparound services, referrals to community resources, and referrals to court. The goal is to reduce truancy and increase school attendance.
Youth Court uses a Restorative Justice model in addressing minor legal offenses committed by youth in the Rockford High Schools. When a youth commits a minor criminal offense, he/she is arrested by the School Liaison Officer and is taken to the principal. If the offense is eligible, Youth Court is suggested to the youth and the parent. Youth Court eligibility must also be approved by the States Attorney’s office. If eligible, the youth goes in front of a jury of his/her peers, who have been extensively trained in Restorative Justice, family issues, substance abuse issues, etc. A contract is developed, and the youth has 60 days to complete the contract. If the contract is successfully completed, the youth can have the offense expunged from his/her record at age 18.
DCFS has created services, often referred to as “Norman Services,” for families who have one or more children who are at risk of being placed in DCFS care, or who have children who cannot be returned home. Reasons for these concerns may be: lack of food, lack of shelter, lack of clothing, or lack of other items that assist in maintaining children in their homes or in helping children return home.
YSN receives referrals for Norman funds and writes checks to help maintain children in their homes and to help children return home.
The Youth Crisis Cash Assistance Program provides services to promote permanency by maintaining, strengthening and safeguarding the functioning of families, promote family unification, facilitate youth development and ensure the safety and well-being of children.
YSN provides cash assistance checks to stabilize the housing of youth referred to the program.