YSS plans program to help children in groups

Adams tells City Council she hopes to implement idea in the spring

Youth and Shelter Services, of Hamilton County, has its sights set on helping groups of children who aren’t fitting in.

“We are trying to figure out how to help these kids,” Jane Adams, director of YSS, of Hamilton County, said during Monday’s City Council meeting. “We find that there may be one kid who is unhappy and isn’t fitting in and suddenly we have a whole group.”

She said children will often get involved with a group of children who also feel disengaged.

“They get involved there because they don’t fit in anywhere else,” Adams said. “What they are doing is crying for help. How can we help these kids?”

Adams said the program is still in the planning stages, but the idea is to bring the group of children together to work on something positive.

“You keep those kids together because they already have that link,” Adams said.

The program could be a 10-week, 2 hours a week course, she said.

Adams reported that she has applied for multiple grants for the program.

She hopes to get it started in the spring.

“It’s not going yet, but I am really excited about it because you can take a group of kids and help them turn their lives around,” she said.

In other business, Adams shared the legislative agenda of YSS, which includes:

• Advocating for the state of Iowa to develop and implement a children’s mental health system that is committed to improving children’s well-being, building healthy and resilient children, providing for educational growth, and coordinating medical health care for those in need.

• Advocating for the creation, and funding of, a subsidized guardianship program that would help Iowa foster youth to achieve normalcy and maintain relationships with caring adults in their life by having a relative assume permanent legal responsibility in situations where adoption or return to parents is not feasible.

• Advocate for raising the maximum age of eligibility for services of the Iowa Aftercare Services Network from age 21 to 23 and for state funding associated with the change.

Adams provided the following YSS, of Hamilton County, statistics from fiscal year 2017-2018:

• 2,397 total counseling sessions

• 468 counseling sessions provided in school or in the community

• 239 clients served in behavior health programs

• 75 clients served in Aftercare

• 90 clients served in Pre-Aftercare at the Eldora State Training School

• 404 total clients served

• 141 volunteer hours