The Center for Children & Young Adults (CCYA) was incorporated in 1981 and accepted its first children in 1984. It was originally created by several community organizations and leaders, including DFCS, to serve as a shelter for youth ages 0-18 in need of housing and supervision due to histories of severe neglect, abuse and/or abandonment. In 2007, The Center moved from operating as an emergency shelter in Cobb County to instead running as 3 long-term foster group homes serving multiple counties throughout greater metro Atlanta, which is how it exists today. In its 30 years of operation, CCYA has provided services for over 7,500 boys and girls in need of shelter, care, and guidance.
To mission of the shelter is to provide a safe, nurturing environment with comprehensive services for homeless youth and young adults who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or are at risk.
The Center operates 4 programs on a 3-home campus. Our programs can house up to 39 boys and girls at one time, and in 2013, we served a total of 164. Some youth come to the Center in need of short-term placements while others stay with us several years and when they turn 18, they “age out” of the foster care system into our Life Works Transitional Living program (formerly called “Turning Point”). The Center staff work collaboratively with social service caseworkers, on-site therapists, school personnel, Medicaid physicians, community volunteers, and corporate partners to guide and ultimately “parent” these youth into permanent placements or independence. The 4 programs on The Center’s campus include:
- Open Gate Home = Girls ages 12-17; This 9 bed home currently offers a host of on-site and off-site community events and outings. The girls are learning to cook, sew, scrapbook, master Wii Fit, do yoga, and become master gardeners through our campus Community Garden project.
- Another Chance Home = Boys ages 12-15; This 12 bed home is a hub of activity. Current residents are involved in many school activities. We have boys playing for their school sports teams, participating in JROTC and a few have recently joined the Future Business Leaders of America Club.
- TLP Prep = Also housed in the Another Chance home, ILP Prep is an 8 bed program for boys ages 16-17. ILP Prep was separated out from the Another Chance program in 2012 in order to give the older boys in that house additional freedoms and opportunities, as well as more specific programming to address their unique needs as they approach young adulthood.
- Life Works Transitional Living Home (formerly called Turning Point) = Boys and girls ages 17-20; Our transitional living program currently offers shelter and supervision to youth who have “aged out” or are about to “age out” of the foster care system (at 18 years old). Youth are required to be enrolled in an educational and/or work training program and be employed or seeking a part-time job. In 2011, through the support of a grant from Humana Atlanta Life Benefits, we launched our Life Skills for Healthy Living initiative and also transformed Life Works into more of a youth-driven, college dormitory-style program with experiential activities that mock real life responsibilities and challenges. Academic Achievement, Career Services, Health and fitness and Financial Planning and Management are the set Core Values for the program.
With Northside Psychological Services on site, The Center offers an array of scheduled and emergent counseling and mental health treatment services for residents in all three homes.