Our beloved historic building has touched countless lives in the past 150 years – but it is currently failing the youth living there. Young people with complicated trauma histories are forced to share small rooms with strangers. Some portion of the few belongings they arrive with get taken and stored in a dank basement room because there’s no space elsewhere. Their only restroom is dormitory style with locker room showers. With privacy not assured, youth often delay showering, contributing to issues with hygiene and low self-esteem.
Every inch of this building’s overcrowded footprint is dedicated to making sure teens and young adults in the foster care system have families they can count on forever. But as we pursue our mission, staff work around the crumbling interior and space restrictions.
Designed by architect Michael Whitmore with significant input from youth, the new campus will provide trauma-informed, welcoming space for youth to heal. Single occupancy bedrooms and bathrooms will protect youth privacy and affirm their dignity. A fully appointed family visiting apartment will allow youth to host family overnight and spend time together in a home-like environment.
Finally, the campus will demonstrate for other child welfare agencies how a building can be used as a tool to propel youth out of the system and back to family. Our Training & Consulting division will use the data and lessons learned from this new campus to inform the care of more than 10,000 youth nationwide each year.