50% of adolescents aging out of foster care or the juvenile justice system will be homeless in 6 months. – Covenant House Institute
Victims of abuse and neglect up 5% year over year - OJJDP, US Department of Justice
More than 75% of youth in the juvenile justice system have faced traumatic victimization, such as physical abuse, domestic violence and traumatic neglect. - Forbes, January 2015.
In the U.S. there are more than 20 million abused, neglected and traumatized children. Our society had yet to recognize this epidemic, let alone develop an immunization strategy. - Bruce Perry, MD, PhD.
They are the forgotten children of poverty, neglect and abuse, born into a hostile reality that is unimaginable to most of us. They are trapped by lack of education, surrounded with crime. They are demoralized by emotional and mental trauma, victimized by sexual deviance, violence and human trafficking. Or they are the distressed young people from good homes who have lost their way because of psychological anguish, addiction or unwise decisions.
Youth Opportunity Foundation is dedicated to the truth: The fate of these children is not cast at birth, nor dictated by mistakes. All children deserve a chance, a right to security and safety. Adolescent mental health, addiction, victimization, and behavioral challenges should not be life sentences. Through innovative therapies, advocacy, education and workforce development, we can break this tragic cycle of lives lost before they start.
We are writing new endings to the same old story, endings that ripple through communities as children break free of their prisons of hopelessness to become ambassadors of independence, emissaries for the rewards of work, and representatives of the possibilities for all. Dramatic change is possible through the transformative power of individual resolve and personal accountability. Their journey begins with treatment and opportunity.
Youth Opportunity Foundation provides grants, develops partnerships, and commissions applied research to turn at-risk young people into productive adults. Troubled children deserve the opportunity to overcome the debilitating distress preventing them from reaching their potential, whether that distress is the result of trauma, abuse, mental illness, emotional disorder, or behavioral dysfunction.
What if you were judged your whole life for a mistake you made as a teenager? Would your life be different if you were neglected or abused as a child? Can you imagine being so emotionally broken that you are incapable of functioning - because you were an innocent victim of a horrifying crime? We are dedicated to giving these traumatized and victimized young people a second chance.
Dr. Marylou Erbland, clinical director at The Center for Success and Independence in Houston, specializes in rehabilitating victims of human trafficking. She and her team have achieved unprecedented outcomes with innovative therapies based on Dialetical Behavioral Therapy. Dr Erbland’s work, in partnership with Harris County, the Governor of Texas, and private payers, demonstrates the efficacy of specialized trauma-focused care.
Dawn Kruithoff is the co-founder of the Muskegon River Youth Home. She is a recognized expert in using applied forensics to help at-risk youth with addictions, co-occurring disorders and anger management issues. She is a master level psychologist, a subject matter expert for the International Certification Board and Reciprocity Consortium, and an expert witness for juvenile behavior.
A partnership between residential rehabilitation facilities and business owners in Evart, Michigan provides at-risk young people with internships, training and jobs.
In partnership with Ivy Tech, one of the largest community colleges in the country, Youth Opportunity Foundation is providing grants to online classes for qualified students over 18.
Opportunity Means Connection. Connection Means Community.