FY22 Annual Report: Success looks like Abby* in Residential Treatment

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An at-risk youth gets back on track at the Four Oaks Youth Emergency Shelter in Iowa City

Four Oaks Youth Emergency Shelters in Iowa City and Independence provide emergency and temporary care to runaway, homeless, and adjudicated adolescents. Shelter provides a safe environment with a high degree of supervision and structure for these youth who are currently unable to be in a family situation.

Abby,* a 17-year-old runaway, lived on the streets for seven months. She was abusing substances and putting herself at risk before she arrived at the Four Oaks Youth Emergency Shelter in Iowa City. Staff were warned that Abby was a significant run risk and that once she received necessary medical care, she would likely take off again.

Iowa City Shelter Unit Staff Program Coordinator Jazmen Wade and her staff worked to build a relationship with Abby to help her feel safe. They were able to show Abby that they were there to help her and gain her trust. Then they got her on her path to success.

Abby had not been in contact with her family for months and was reluctant to reconnect with them. Her Four Oaks Caseworker, Heather Bopp, met with Abby’s family to help them reestablish a relationship, first by phone contact and then visits where Abby felt in control and comfortable. Today, Abby is talking with her family regularly, and is able to leave the shelter for day-long visits with her family over the weekend.

During her time on her own, she fell behind at school and was not on track to graduate with her peers. Heather worked with John Berning, a Grant Wood Area Education Agency teacher, who offered Abby the option of a High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) to achieve the same level of academic accomplishment as graduating from high school. Abby is continuing to study and will take her HiSET exams when she feels confident enough.

Not only is she getting her education back on track, she also was able to have a new driver’s permit issued with the help of her caseworker, Heather. To help Abby remove the obstacle of cost, Heather coordinated funding for the permit.

Anticipating that she will soon be ready to leave residential treatment, Abby’s Department of Health and Human Services caseworker has made a referral to a Supervised Apartment Living program so she will be able to live on her own when she is ready. She has developed a support system through her time with Four Oaks, and worked hard to gain the skills she needs to successfully and safely live independently. Thanks to the staff at the Four Oaks Youth Emergency Shelter in Iowa City, Abby is well on her way toward her successful outcome.

* Name and photo changed to protect privacy

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