Kent Youth and Family Services Programs
KYFS is the largest community based organization provider of Head Start & ECEAP, early childhood education, in Puget Sound Educational Service District service area, King, Pierce and portion of Kitsap. In 16 preschool classrooms utilizing the well established Evidence Based Practices of these programs, KYFS prepares 300+ 3 & 4 y/or, largely immigrant/refugee and economically challenged children, and their families, for their successfully entry and progression through the K-12 education system every year.
Through the after school and evening youth development programs, “Outreach” & “Lighthouse” guide thousands of school age, primary and secondary, at risk children and youth to a course of success in school, resistance to youth violence, gang involvement, substance use and abuse (involvement in the juvenile justice system), development of healthy choices in lifestyle and behaviors, relationship development, successful academic habits, entry into higher education and/or career pathways as they mature into young adults.
KYFS owns a ten unit apartment building providing homeless young mothers between the ages of 16-25, and their infant/toddlers, two years of transitional housing. Through its “Watson Manor” facility the agency has assisted, since 1990, very disenfranchised/disadvantaged, victimized, young families with school re-entry and completion, employment opportunities, family and general life skills acquisition, first time stability for these formally homeless young families then seeing them move on to stabile secure private housing opportunities.
As a Washington licensed mental health agency KYFS provided professional therapy services to children and youth experienced emotional, behavior, psychiatric disturbances, from preschool through adolescence, as a result of any number of factors, abuse, neglect, trauma, victimization, family disruptions, to name a few.
Similarly KYFS’s Chemical Dependency and Substance Abuse Treatment program, also certified as Washington Chemical Dependency Treatment provider, works with youth experiencing substance use and abuse, dependencies and even addictions with its professional chemical dependency treatment staff.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012 KYFS implemented the cutting edge infant mental health project "Incredible Years.' This group counseling curiculum is designed to intervene and improve the mental health stability of infants while improving the emotional bond with newborn parents.
KYFS’s mental health clinical services therapists are actively collaborating and training in the emerging best practices area, an area rapidly developing, of infant mental health therapy. In response to the growing primary health care needs of adolescents in the Kent School District, KYFS partnered with Public Health Seattle King County and Kent School District to develop a school based teen health clinic at the Kent Phoenix Academy as a full partner in those services. Since the December 2009 closure of the Public Health Seattle King County Teen Clinic, we have been proud to partner with PHSKC to provide space in-kind weekly for public health educators working with individuals verifying eligibility to access health care benefits.
KYFS provides a fully integrated mental health and chemical dependency/substance abuse treatment services continuum consisting of: mental treatment - dually diagnosed mental health/substance abuse treatment - chemical dependency and substance abuse treatment. Under the direction of dually licensed, mental health and chemical dependency, program director, the Clinical Services program approach provides a more holistic treatment approach to children, youth and families, the only approach in South King County
KYFS, along with its "Building Better Futures" partners (Kent School District, Puget Sound Educational Service District, King County Housing Authority), in coordination with the "Road Map Project" is moving forward with the "East Hill Read to Succeed" Initiative. This collective impact initiative has a goal of every child living in public housing communities in Kent will be successful in school, K-12, prepared for college and/or career. A variety of resources are needed to implement the project, financial, supplies, mentors, volunteers, experiential opportunities.