YWCA Greater Cleveland is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We have been serving our community for almost 150 years.
Today one of our key areas of focus is helping youth transition out of foster care.
Approximately 200 teens age out of foster care annually in Cuyahoga County. The obstacles they face are considerable. Studies conducted nationally show that within 4 years of emancipation, 25% of these young people have been homeless; 60% have become unmarried parents; fewer than 20% are able to support themselves; 25% report encounters with the legal system; 56% have not graduated from high school; 64% have earnings below poverty level; and 51% are dependent on income assistance through government programs.
YWCA has responded to the special needs of young adults transitioning out of failing systems, such as foster care. The NIA program--Nurturing Independence and Aspirations--is a Trauma-Informed System of Care model focused on permanence, education, employment, housing, physical and mental health, and personal and community engagement for youth 18 to 24 years of age transitioning out of foster care. Under the guidance of a Life Coach, NIA participants pursue educational opportunities, focus on career development, learn the importance of health care, and develop life and parenting skills.