“Thank you for my new shoes. I wear them to school every day,” said Leah.
Before being introduced to Volunteers of America and its youth and family programs, the stress of underemployment and the rising costs of childcare posed a daily battle for Leah’s family. Promising that “we will have a better life someday,” Leah’s mother finally turned to Volunteers of America for help.
Today, Leah eagerly looks forward to spending the afternoon with friends at her new after-school daycare program. This service gave Leah’s mother a chance to get ahead by returning to school at night. In fact, night classes helped Leah’s mother find a new, better-paying career, giving her family more stability and a brighter future.
In this way, we improve the day-to-day lives of more than 57,000 innocent kids like Leah.
Encouraging Positive Development with youth and family programs
Volunteers of America provides high-quality youth and family programs and innovative services for disadvantaged and marginalized children and youth. Through our caring staff, we ensure young children’s social, emotional, and academic development. We empower older youth to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy and ready to enter adulthood. Our programs provide a continuum of care and support for young people through prevention, early intervention, crisis intervention, and long-term services.
We provide child care, Head Start, and early literacy programs to help young children get a bright start. We serve school-age children by providing before- and after-school programs, summer camps, and mentoring. Programming for older youth includes leadership development, job training, and pregnancy prevention.
Volunteers of America strives to help families and children at the first sign of trouble. Our family preservation programs help strengthen families by teaching parenting skills and coping techniques, connecting families to various services, and providing respite. We also provide delinquency prevention programs for youth who show early signs of problem behaviors.
When families collapse, Volunteers of America is there to rebuild them. We provide foster care services for children who cannot safely remain with their families, but we also provide family reunification services to help bring them back together with their parents at an appropriate time. For those children who cannot be reunited, we provide adoption services. In addition, we provide a full range of services for youth who have run away and face homelessness to help them exit the streets, reunite with family, and gain skills to successfully transition into adulthood.
We find some children and youth who, due to varying circumstances, need our support for an extended period of time. We provide group homes for children in the foster care system, residential treatment for youth with substance misuse and mental health disorders, and transitional housing and services for youth who are homeless or aging out of the foster care system. For young people with intense needs like these, we provide consistent, caring relationships and safe environments to help them overcome those challenging circumstances.
Learn About Our Children’s Center in Pennsylvania
Providing childcare in downtown Allentown for approximately 100 years, the Children’s Center offers affordable early childhood programs for children ages 13 months to 10 years. The Children’s Center has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the nation’s leading organization for early childhood professionals.
“You see so many kids not finishing school, going to jail, doing drugs…how can you not help? You make time for the things you want to do. This is one of those things.”
– George, Mentor, New Orleans, LA
Scaling Up the Power of Family Focused Recovery
Healing Parents and Children Together
The number one cause of preventable death among pregnant and postpartum women is drug overdose. For more than 25 years, we’ve faced this issue head on. Now in half a dozen states, our pioneering Family Focused Recovery program is successfully providing substance use disorder to keep families together.
Learn how VOA is keeping communities healthy by watching the video.
Impact of Opioid Crisis on Mothers and Children
Women face a growing opioid crisis, and children are suffering. Heroin deaths among women increased at more than twice the rate for men. Opioid use among women giving birth has almost quadrupled in a decade, while the incidence of neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome (NAS) grew almost 5 fold in the same period. And Child Welfare systems are deluged with children entering foster care.
Solutions that Work
An effective mother and child recovery model. When mothers and children receive residential treatment together, the maternal bond is maintained, children thrive, and mothers are motivated to achieve long-term recovery. This approach is also working for fathers raising children. The investment saves money by reducing neonatal intensive care days, reducing costs of drug overdoses, and eliminating the expense of more children in the child welfare system.
Directory of Family-Based Residential Substance Use Disorder
Treatment Programs for Parents with Children
The demand for residential treatment for parents with their children is expanding quickly. However, the number of licensed facilities for parents with children is growing slowly. This challenge is compounded by the lack of information about these facilities. With the support of the Annie. E. Casey Foundation, Volunteers of America, and Wilder Research, produced the national directory of family-based residential treatment programs that is available here for free download.