Drumming and honor songs were featured as ChristieCare of Oregon merged with Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization, in a celebration today at the nonprofit organization’s campus in Lake Oswego.

Youth Villages-ChristieCare offers one of the only culturally responsive residential treatment programs for Native American youth in the country, Cedar Bough. The program helps youth from the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon and youth from other Native American communities in the Pacific Northwest, including urban Native American youth.

The merger ceremony featured honor songs performed Harold Paul, a member of the Nez Perce tribe. Paul volunteers at the Youth Villages-ChristieCare program and has been a drumming instructor at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland. Drumming also was featured in the ceremony, which opened and closed with Native American rituals.

Terry Cross, executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, who had been a member of the ChristieCare board of directors is one of four board members who will take positions on the national Youth Villages board.

“This is an important moment for both ChristieCare and families who need help in Oregon,” said Lynne Saxton, executive director of Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon and former CEO of ChristieCare. “We’ve helped children and families in Oregon for more than 150 years, and now families will be able to count on us for generations to come.”

The strength of the community’s commitment to ChristieCare was demonstrated in the success of its recent Turning Point Campaign. Significant donations were made by Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Collins Foundation and other private donors.

The new organization will be advocating for changes in Oregon’s children’s services to allow more prevention and family restoration efforts.

“What we need in Oregon is effective and cost-effective alternatives to more expensive foster care and residential services, as well as prevention services that allow us to preserve and strengthen families before they fall apart,” said Saxton. “That’s exactly what we are able to offer to Oregon’s children and families.”

The organization’s Oregon Intercept program, which provides intensive in-home services, already is helping children and families in Clackamas and Washington Counties. Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon hopes to offer those services statewide soon.

About ChristieCare: ChristieCare, which helps more than 250 children every year, is one of the largest providers of services to children in Oregon, tracing its history back to early statehood in 1859. Providing effective solutions for children and families from diverse cultures coping with significant mental health challenges, ChristieCare serves thousands of children and families throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit www.christiecare.org.

About Youth Villages: Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization with the mission to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. One of the nation’s first and largest providers of intensive in-home services, Youth Villages offers a wide array of services and this year will help more than 17,000 children and families in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Named one of the Top 50 Nonprofits to Work For by Nonprofit Times and Best Companies Group in 2010 and 2011, Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.youthvillages.org.