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.
A partnership between residential rehabilitation facilities and business owners in Evart, Michigan provides at-risk young people with internships, training and jobs.
YoungLife – Having a relationship with a trusted mentor may be the most important asset for a troubled teen successfully transitioning to adulthood. With this in mind, YOF has partnered with YoungLife International and Youth Opportunity to establish “clubs” at YO campuses to begin this important relational development process. (October, 2017)
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. (March, 2018)
The Hope Center – Human trafficking ensnares 300,000 U.S. children, under 18, annually. YOF was introduced to The Hope Center Indy as a unique shelter for women desperate to break free from this enslavement. Given that this nightmare has robbed many of their childhood, YOF has enthusiastically partnered with The Hope Center to support education, mentoring, jobs and treatment, as appropriate, in this mission. (June, 2018)
BI project – In an ongoing search for improved clinical treatment programs for “at-risk” youth, YOF has partnered with Youth Opportunity and Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana to create a “first of it’s kind” screening protocol and treatment program for troubled teens assigned to residential treatment programs suspected of having a traumatic brain injury. (August, 2018)
Collaboration to Combat the Effects of Human Trafficking – Believing that age indiscriminately separates “victim” from “prostitute”, YOF has engineered a collaboration between The Hope Center Indy and YO affiliate TCSI, Houston to share experiences and expertise in attacking human trafficking from all angles. (November, 2018)
CreateAbility – YOF announces a partnership with CreateAbility, Inc.. Also a Carmel based firm, CreateAbility is focused on using technology to eliminate barriers, promote independence and self-empowerment. We believe that through this relationship we can enhance the effectiveness and availability of secondary and post-secondary education for troubled teens. (December, 2019)
InStep – Substance abuse has long been an ever-present threat to developing youth; the opioid crisis has added urgency to efforts to control and eliminate this scourge. Youth Opportunity Foundation joined InStep Indy, a local public-private partnership, focused on a coordinated solution(s) to substance abuse disorder. YOF is determined to represent at-risk youth through the efforts of this group focused on prevention through education and protection for vulnerable youth victimized through the addiction of their parents. (February, 2019)
Megan Ward – YOF Announces Megan Ward Scholarship. Based on the incredible generosity of YOF donors, a scholarship for post-secondary education for victims of human trafficking has been established to assist in their rehabilitation and community re-entry. (March, 2019)
Opportunity Means Connection. Connection Means Community.