Established in 1981, the mission of The Center for Children & Young Adults (CCYA) is to provide a safe and nurturing environment with comprehensive services for homeless youth and young adults who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, or are at risk. As a part of the state foster care system, we house, feed, clothe and develop homeless and maltreated youth in the Atlanta Metro Area.
Our first youth home, Open Gate, was created as a temporary emergency shelter for abused/neglected children in Cobb County and opened its doors in 1984. In 1995, CCYA became a longer term facility (excess of 90 days) and opened Another Chance an all teen home on the current campus. In 1998 we expanded beds at Another Chance and relocated Open Gate to the current campus. We built Life Works in 2001, a Transitional Living Housing Program, to house young adults aging out of care at 18. In 2009, CCYA reorganized to meet growing state needs for housing teens and began serving only youth ages 12-20 while expanding services to more than 13 counties. In 2010, CCYA shifted from a “shelter” model to a “youth development” model employing a Trauma Informed Care Approach. We are the only children’s residential center in Georgia to adopt the national certification training curriculum in the field for youth care professionals which is the Residential Child & Youth Care Professional (RCYCP) Training out of the University of Oklahoma National Resource Center on Youth Services. Our newest program Connections Beyond Care offers transitional young adults a host of services and support in the community. New to Connections is a residential support program, providing eligible youth an apartment and rental assistance while they attend school and work skills training programs.
Over the years, our fundamental goals have remained the same: (1) To provide shelter, food and clothing for homeless youth & young adults in need; and (2) To provide for the safety, education, health, and well-being of these young people while helping them to achieve a permanent home placement OR, where no placement is available, transition them successfully to independence. However, our approach has been changing over time.
CCYA is redefining residential care for at risk youth in our community – we are no longer just housing, feeding and clothing youth, we are developing them. Through innovative therapies (music, art, & animals); strong community partnerships; a therapeutic culture of care; and a daily milieu that involves youth in their own care and planning; CCYA is helping youth to overcome their childhood maltreatment, expose them to new opportunities, learn and practice life skills, and achieve goals they once never dreamed possible.