The Center for Children and Young Adults is a transformative, model program whose mission is to provide safe and suitable housing, youth development activities and comprehensive supportive housing services for at-risk homeless youth who have been abandoned, abused, neglected and/or sexually exploited.
The History Behind The Center
A private non–profit was created, Cobb County Children’s Center. The purpose of this organization was to create a temporary emergency shelter for abused and neglected children and youth in Cobb County. State Court Judge Tom Cauthorn and Lillian Darden, Senator Johnny Isakson and Cobb County DFCS were among some of the community leaders involved in the development process. Funding came from various sources within the community including the Junior League Cobb-Marietta and the Marietta Kiwanis.
Open Gate accepted its first children, located at 325 Fairground Street. The program was designed to care for boys and girls, ages birth to 18, who were taken out of their home due to abuse or neglect.
A study conducted by the Cobb County Commission on Children and Youth initially identified the need for a program to service at-risk teens.
The request was made that Cobb County Children’s Center offer a program for teens. Because of the special needs of the population to be served, a new facility was warranted.
Construction began on the one-of-a-kind teen shelter, Another Chance.
Expanded to longer term care. Another Chance opened and began caring for up to 20 youth ages 12–17. Youth were referred to Another Chance by the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Juvenile Court.
The Children’s Center began a comprehensive strategic planning process to assess the needs of a future generation of at-risk children and youth and the direction of the organization’s future growth in light of these needs.
The Children’s Center initiated a $2.5 million capital campaign. The elements of the campaign included:
- increasing the bed capacity of Another Chance from 20 to 26;
- relocating Open Gate (ages birth to 11) to the Another Chance site on Austell Road, thus creating a campus setting and improving operating efficiency;
- creating a transitional living program for older youth between ages 17 and 21;
- establishing an endowment fund for maintenance of its physical facilities.
Expansion on Another Chance and Open Gate’s relocation was completed. To reflect the additional population to be served, the agency changed its name to The Center for Children & Young Adults.
Turning Point (now Life Works), a transitional living program, opened serving young adults aging out of care at 18. Partnered with Cobb Master Gardeners to plant a campus community garden.
First Quarter, 2004
Turning Point became a male only facility.
End of 2004
Turning Point returned to a co–ed facility.
Fall of 2005
The Center began a partnership with Northside (now Northstar) Psychological Services to provide enhanced therapeutic services for the children and youth.
The Center celebrates three young adults at Turning Point graduating from high school and starting college.
Due to changes implemented by the Department of Human Resources, that oversees all child care agencies, The Center became a long-term care facility. Changes by DHR prohibit The Center from providing clinical staffing. However, we are mandated by the State to ensure each client receives therapeutic services from a Medicaid approved provider. Changes also required a change in ages served at Open Gate and Another Chance. Open Gate now cares for birth to 12 and Another Chance serves 13–17.
One of the clients at Turning Point attended her senior prom, completed her senior year of high school while maintaining employment, graduated high school and went on to attend Georgia Southern University.
The Center was the recipient of The Circle for Children’s fundraiser. The fundraiser resulted in a $145,000 donation to The Center.
The Center was chosen as the 2008 Leadership Cobb Class project. The class raised over $50,000 for The Center and completed numerous projects on campus.
One of the first clients who completed Turning Point and went on to college is now 21 and returned to work for The Center during the holidays.
Reorganized to meet growing community need to house older youth: Open Gate shifted for serving only girls and Another Chance serving only boys.
With restructured staff (including new CEO, COO, management team, Life Skills Instructors and a Youth Activities & Volunteer Coordinator), The Center shifted agency philosophy and service delivery from a “shelter” model to a “youth development” model.
Launched successful Building Improvements Campaign replacing roof, structural columns, security system, boilers, plumbing, etc.
Complete rewrite of the CCYA Standard of Operating Procedure manual. Awarded Agency of the Year at the Georgia Conference on Children & Families.
Launched National Certification for Residential Child & Youth Care Professionals (RCYCP) through the University of Oklahoma for CCYA workforce.
Implemented innovative therapies (Animal Assisted, Art, Music, Body Movement). Built state-of-the-art recreation area.