Child Saving Institute’s (CSI) Emergency Shelter provides a safe and nurturing short-term placement for youth in crisis. In so doing, the Emergency Shelter staff ensure all youths’ essential needs are met, including the needs for physical and behavioral health care, food security, education, recreation and crisis intervention. The homelike environment provides stability and consistency during the transition, and services address each youth’s immediate need for safety through a structured daily schedule. The focus is on therapeutic care with individualized service planning to emphasize strengths, address areas of need and reinforce positive behaviors.
The Emergency Shelter operates 24/7 with awake staff around the clock (with a 4:1 youth to staff ratio during waking hours and 6:1 during hours of sleep). Youth attend their home schools and, if needed, are provided with education and support to prepare them for independent living. Although licensed by the state of Nebraska to care for up to 12 youth, CSI’s Emergency Shelter has limited capacity of nine single bedrooms. Because the histories and needs of referred youth often preclude sharing bedrooms, the census
is limited to nine to ensure the safety of all youth.
CSI serves 60-100 youth annually in its Emergency Shelter. The facility is insufficient to meet the needs of the current population—older adolescents, primarily males, with an average length of stay of over one month. CSI will expand capacity to 16 youth. In addition to providing individual bedrooms, there is a need for recreation and education spaces. A dedicated classroom will allow youth not currently enrolled in school to earn education credit, critical to their future success. Spaces for individual and family therapy sessions
and visitation is needed. A gymnasium and outdoor areas suited for teens is a must; without this, there is no place for the teens to run, play basketball or do “normal” teen activities. Physical activity is critical to heal the mind of traumatized youth.
CSI is committed to creating an Emergency Shelter that provides the best possible care for youth. To make it a reality, a larger space that meets the complex needs of the youth is needed. A new facility will allow CSI to serve more youth, but more importantly, it would allow CSI to serve its current at-risk youth better.