(KC Center | Courtesy of J Bar J Youth Services)
Kids and families need support when problems arise and communication becomes challenging. Kids sometimes leave home in search of safety and support.
There are resources here in Central Oregon that can help, at no cost and voluntary. Cascade Youth and Family Center’s (CYFC) Basic Center Program offers crisis intervention and mediation services to families in conflict. CYFC social workers can help families improve understanding as well as learn communication and boundary setting skills. When situations are critical, they can provide emergency shelter to allow a cooling off time in which youth and families can reset and plan for the next steps.
Recently, in an effort to better serve all of Central Oregon, CYFC expanded their services in Redmond with a case manager specifically for the Northern Deschutes County area. In the past, case managers have made the drive from Bend to meet with teens and families in crisis or conflict. Having a full time office in Redmond’s Becky Johnson Center will make these services easier to access and schedule.
“This addition helps us cover Deschutes County. Case Managers used to drive all the way from La Pine to Redmond.” CYFC’s Basic Center Program Manager Vandi Reiter explains. “Now, our Redmond based Case Manager will cover Redmond and Sisters, and those based in Bend can focus on Bend and La Pine.” The program also responds to referrals in Madras and Prineville, and provides services in those communities when needed.
The Basic Center Program in Redmond can offer the same emergency shelter for youth or who need time outside the family home to allow a situation time to deescalate and work through the mediation process, as well as to those who may be living on the street or couch surfing. There are two emergency rooms at CYFC’s LOFT in Bend, and others in host homes. The program is currently seeking host homes throughout the region to allow youth to stay in their hometowns. To learn more about how to be a host home call 541.382.0934.
J Bar J Youth Services’ commitment to young people in Central Oregon leads them to look for innovative options to help them succeed. Their programs offer services to youth from a wide range of circumstances: those who would benefit from a mentor, youth in foster care or at risk of DHS involvement, homeless, trafficked, pregnant, struggling, or involved in the juvenile justice system.
Their commitment to the larger Central Oregon area also continues through Kindred Connections (KC), a program of J Bar J Youth Services. A house in Redmond is being renovated to create shelter for kids there. The new KC Center will serve youth and their families, offering after school hours, access to internet and volunteers who will share practical life and work skills. The center is scheduled to open in the spring.
As our world returns to in person services a sense of relief emerges. “It was difficult to provide care virtually. Most youth don’t do as well with zoom meetings and sessions, they need in person interaction.” Vandi talks about being able to serve youth better and address mental health needs now. Street Outreach drop in hours for kids living unhoused, offering a place to shower, do laundry and have a meal have returned to the LOFT.
Other programs in the J Bar J family are also re-emerging. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon is bringing their biggest fundraiser of the year, Comedy for Kids’ Sake, back to the Tower Theatre in November. The program continues to match caring adult mentors (Bigs) with youth (Littles) in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook County, and are seeking mentors from Madras to La Pine. After a long couple of years of Zoom sessions and fewer program offerings, it feels great to be expanding services for kids and families.