Addressing the Youth of Today with Unique Services

The many pressures our youth face can be overwhelming. In order for youth-specific programming to be effective, very unique approaches and services are needed. Youth cannot be viewed as simply 'small adults' or 'big kids.' They must instead be seen as their own category and addressed as such. WestCare provides a variety of services in diverse locations in order to reach the needs of the youth today.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 750,000 teens become pregnant each year, and 82% of the pregnancies are not planned. In many cases, these young mothers become homeless and seek shelter and assistance. They are need of not only secure housing, but help and support to gain the knowledge to care for their child, maintain employment, and provide food and a permanent residence for their family. At WestCare, we serve this unique population through transitional living and case management services.

Family dynamics play a key role in the life of any youth. If negative, this easily leads to both behavioral and academic challenges. At WestCare, we seek to provide substance abuse prevention services, education and independent living skills, and supportive residential environments designed to address the special needs of the youth. An example of a program such as this includes: North Carolina's Girls Residential Program.

Substance abuse leads youth down a path of destruction. These young men and women are in need of crisis intervention and emergency placement. In some situations, supervised detoxification services are necessary and followed up by effective treatment options. At WestCare, youth suffering from substance abuse are given immediate support to assist them in positively changing their lives. An example of a program such as this includes: Nevada's Stepping Stones Emergency Shelter & Adolescent Detoxification.

WestCare understands that education is the key to prevention. Creating educational programming that specifically targets youth is a high feat. It must relate to what they are going through and meet them where they are. WestCare utilizes a variety of community, grassroots and innovative outreach efforts in order to increase community education for adolescents on a variety of health, recovery and social issues. Examples of programs such as these include: California's Education & Prevention, Florida's Boys to Boys and Improv.