Residential Services: MCS Emergency Shelter and Group Homes
When our community’s law enforcement officials respond to child abuse reports and remove children from unsafe environments, the MCS Emergency Shelter serves as a safe haven. This home, which has operated since 1979, can house up to 12 children from 6 to 17 years old.
The Emergency Shelter provides nurturing, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, academic support, recreational activities, food, and transportation. Most children reside in the 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.
Our Emergency Shelter’s program success is determined by mastery of age-appropriate personal safety strategies among foster children, as identifying threats to safety may help prevent future abuse occurrences. In the year ending September 30, 2022, our Emergency Shelter residential program achieved a 91% success rate in this goal.
Manatee Children’s Services was the first agency to open licensed group homes for foster children in Manatee County. Our group homes are 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. 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 move out on their own at 18 years old. By no longer having to endure frequent moves, each child is has the opportunity to experience a stable, safe, and loving family life, possibly for the first time in their lives.
Our group home program success is determined by mastery of age-appropriate skills necessary to prepare foster children for independent living, as stability in adulthood can help decrease abuse occurrences among future generations. In the year ending September 30, 2022, our group home program achieved a 100% success rate in this goal.
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. Staff observed him teaching other children how to exercise and cook. He graduated high school with a plan to go into the military, and MCS staff established a connection to a recruiter for him. This young man aged out successfully with a brighter future 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
MCS provides a full spectrum of programs serving over 12,000 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.