Enhancing Wilderness Therapy through Aftercare and Parent Programming

Project Term: 12 months; Ended 2018
Grant Amount: $26,088

This project’s goal was to enhance the wilderness youth therapy program’s services by adding case management and expanding programming for caregivers. The wilderness youth therapy program offered a 45-day wilderness trip for youth ages 13-17 with co-occurring behavioral issues and a simultaneous program for parents and family members. The program sought to reduce criminal justice involvement and placement with child and family services, as well as to increase family placement and academic achievement. As a result of this project, 88 percent of the youth who participated were placed with their families and 94 percent continued to earn high school credits following the program (prior to participation, 82 percent of youth demonstrated academic failure). In addition, the percentage of youth employed in their communities increased from 6 to 24 percent within two months of program completion. Unfortunately, Youth Homes’ wilderness youth therapy program was closed due to state budget cuts and the long-term impacts on child welfare, criminal justice, family engagement, and academic performance of the youth who participated in the program could not be evaluated.

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