Many of the children and families we serve live in poverty, face unemployment, struggle with substance abuse or domestic violence, or lack adequate housing. In the face of these challenges, we are dedicated to keeping children safe and strengthening families so that they can remain intact and care for all of their members. We strive to give both adults and children the tools they need to come through trauma and forge pathways to healing in order to build foundations for future success.
Children who have been abused or neglected may find temporary refuge through our Family Foster Care program where they can remain safe and heal in their own neighborhoods as they continue living their lives by going to school, playing, and learning life skills that they will rely on in the years to come. Committed to the preservation of the family unit, we provide birth parents with substance abuse treatment, supportive housing, parenting skills workshops, job training and other supports that will assist with the reunification of children and birth parents.
Parenting/pregnant teenagers in foster care, who are unable to be served in a family foster care setting, receive care and support in our Mother/Infant Residences. We work with these young mothers to identify resources that can provide long-term support for them and their child(ren) and prepare them for adulthood. In working with all teens in foster care, we focus on education, skills development (with particular emphasis for these girls on parenting and homemaking), employment, safety and well-being.
Our Residential Treatment Center provides 24-hour residential care to youth ages 12 to 21 requiring therapeutic and educational support. Our program combines enriching activities and clinical services to assist youth with mental health concerns, challenging behaviors, and disabilities as well as those who have been exposed to trauma. Some youth are part of a Leake & Watts program specifically designed to serve hard-to-place girls in foster care who have been sexually exploited. This highly structured program is particularly noteworthy for serving youth with emotional disorders who have experienced trauma and have not been successful in other placements. Other youth at the Residential Treatment Center have faced challenges in their home environment and are placed with us based on educational and therapeutic needs through their school districts’ Committees on Special Education. These youth are not in foster care, but require the comprehensive support and structure of a residential program to meet their academic, emotional and social needs.
While the goal in all foster care work is to establish a permanent appropriate living arrangement for the child, preferably back with his/her birth family, this is not always possible or in the best interest of the child. In such cases, Leake & Watts Adoption Services work with the courts to free children for adoption and link them with loving parents in a nurturing, permanent home.
Though our Preventive Services program, Leake & Watts helps at-risk families before they reach a crisis point and thus prevents the need to place children in foster care. Our Preventive Services also assist families as they are reunited after children have been in foster care placement and ease the transition back together again. Family-driven services include assistance with housing, employment, substance abuse treatment, education, counseling, and accessing mental health and other community services and resources.
Our Youth Development services are dedicated to providing youth with the tools to succeed once they have left our care and serve youth in our Family Foster Care, Mother/Infant program, and the Residential Treatment Center. Services include educational support, job training, job-seeking skills, housing assistance, money management, and basic life skills.