Residential Services: MCS Emergency Shelter and Group Homes
A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in our country. When our community’s law enforcement officials respond to these calls and remove a child from an unsafe environment, the MCS Emergency Shelter serves as safe haven for these children in need. This home, which has been in operation since 1979, can house up to 12 children, male or female, between 6 and 17 years old.
While residing in the shelter, MCS provides a full spectrum of care for this vulnerable population including nurturing, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, academic support, recreational activities, food, and transportation. Most children reside in the Emergency Shelter for two weeks while a more permanent placement is identified. Children who need long-term foster care are placed in one of our three group homes, often until they reach 18 years of age.
The youth in our care represent all races and ethnicities. Each child falls into the economically disadvantaged category and is verified or at significant risk for human trafficking as determined in the MCS intake assessment and law enforcement.
Manatee Children’s Services was the first agency to open licensed group homes for children in foster care in Manatee County. Our group homes are specially licensed for human trafficking by the Florida Department of Children and Families due to the rate of children verified or at risk of becoming involved in human trafficking.
Each group home houses up to six children, ages 11 to 17, and a set of house parents. The children residing in our group homes have been in the foster care system for many years and have a significantly high number of different placements. Our group homes provide long-term housing and care until the children are placed with a permanent foster family, reunified with a family member, or are ready to move out on their own. No longer subjected to frequent moves, each child is provided the opportunity to experience a stable, safe and loving family life, possibly for the first time.
In the year ending September 30, 2021, our long-term group home residential program achieved a 92% program success rate with 22 of the 26 children served demonstrating mastery of the age-appropriate skills necessary to prepare them for independent living as evidenced in monthly service plan staffings, case notes, education sessions, and the Casey Life Skills assessment.
In the year ending September 30, 2021, our Emergency Shelter residential program achieved a 95% success rate with 36 of the 38 children we served demonstrating mastery of age-appropriate personal safety strategies as evidenced in shelter audits, case notes, education sessions, and exit surveys.
A young male came to the MCS group home at age 16 due to abuse and neglect. He was falling behind in school, had no identification or driver’s permit, had never created a resume before, and lacked emotional boundaries. MCS residential staff got him into therapy through our clinical team, connected him with a new school, and helped him obtain his driver’s license. He graduated high school last week and plans to go into the military. MCS staff established a connection to a recruiter for him, and he is excited to go to boot camp in the fall. Staff observed him teaching other children how to exercise and cook. This young man will be aging out successfully with a brighter future at the end of the month thanks to the care and education he received through MCS.
How to help our Emergency Shelter and group homes:
- Art therapy supplies
- New socks, shoes, and underwear (all sizes)
- Overnight diapers for older children ages 6+ (such as “Goodnites”)
- New toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products)
- Gift cards for children to purchase personal items
- Gift cards for residential program experiences/outings
- General monetary donations for unrestricted funds to support food and household operating expenses
For more information on our Residential programs, contact Melinda Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MCS provides a full spectrum of programs serving over 16,000 children and families annually. Since its inception in 1977 as the Manatee County’s first and only emergency shelter for abused children in foster care, MCS has grown to offer programs in treatment, prevention, intervention, and residential services.