Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County celebrates National Safe Place Week connecting young people in need to safety

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.,--The Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County celebrates National Safe Place Week connecting young people in need to safety

There more than 19,000 homeless young people in the state of Indiana, and 75% of youth experiencing homelessness drop out of school. More than two-thirds of homeless youths face mental health issues. Forty-three percent of teens report abuse before leaving their homes.

These are just a few reasons as to why the Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County is working with local organizations and businesses to help connect homeless youth to supportive resources.

Throughout the week, the YSB of St. Joseph county is celebrating national safe place week, which promotes its program of helping young people reach their full potential despite difficult circumstances.

Safe Places connect young people--around ages 12-18—with resources to fit their needs, needs that may not available at home due to family issues, safety, neglect, abuse and other issues. The director of development of YSB of St. Joseph Co., Christine McGovern, says these issues have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The level of trauma that we’re seeing from the young people that we work with is pretty severe. Some of that has gotten worse because they’ve been so isolated and haven’t been in school, and their normalcy and connections and social services weren’t always available to everyone,” said McGovern.

The YSB OF St. Joseph county works to ensure that all young people are safe, have stability and have the ability to reach their full potential. The Safe Place program works to reach that goal.

When a young person visits a Safe Place, a staff member will connect them to someone at the YSB who will then connect them with resources that fit their needs.

Possible resources include shelters, outreach, and programs like the Young Moms’ Self-sufficiency program. The program works to provide a safe place for teens that cannot get help from home.

“We are here to connect with them to provide emergency help, if needed; and then work to get them out of crisis and really solve issues that have been caused by long-term abuse, neglect, trauma or homelessness,” said McGovern.

To promote outreach to young people of all ages, the YSB of St. Joseph Co. presents Safe Place information to more than 10,000 middle and high school students across the county.

The YSB has a 24-hour text hotline and crisis line, in which young people can text the word “safe” with their location (including city, state, zip code) to 4help or 44357. they can also call 574-235-9396.

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