Youth Villages North Carolina has reached a milestone serving more than 2,500 children and their families throughout the state, safely helping hundreds of troubled children every year in their own homes as an effective and cost-effective alternative to group homes and residential treatment.

“Working with youth and their families in their own homes is a highly effective way of helping seriously troubled youth,” said Annie Smith, director of Youth Villages North Carolina. “It’s more effective than traditional child services and highly cost-effective.”

The nationally recognized nonprofit organization began opening offices in North Carolina in 2005 as part of the state’s move to provide Multisystemic Therapy (MST) to children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families. MST is one of the only treatment methods clinically proven effective in producing positive long-term behavioral change in youth. Youth Villages, one of North Carolina’s largest providers of MST services, is a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA) that also offers a variety of other treatment options to help children with emotional behavioral and mental health issues and their families in North Carolina.

Youth Villages’ data show that more than 90 percent of children helped were living at home at program completion and more than 90 percent of parents were satisfied with Youth Villages’ program. Data also show that one year after completing the Youth Villages program, nearly 85 percent of the children who completed their MST program in North Carolina were successfully living at home and 80 percent were in school, employed or pursuing a GED.

“Historically, very few private providers of children’s services collected data on how the children and families they help are doing months or a year after they discharge from their programs,” Smith said. “We believe that collecting this data is hugely important because it’s the only way to know whether we are making a difference and to find out where we may need to continually improve our programs.”

Youth Villages works closely with the Department of Mental Health, Development Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS) to help some of North Carolina’s most troubled youth and their families.

Youth Villages has more than 100 employees who provide statewide support for children and families from offices in Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Concord, Fayetteville, Greensboro/Winston-Salem, Greenville, Hickory, Pinehurst, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington.

From its Greensboro office, Youth Villages provides Multisystemic Therapy to children and their families. Youth Villages is in the process of adding additional services for troubled children and their families in the Greensboro office, including Intercept, an intensive in-home services program to help children who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma and their families; outpatient therapy for children and families; medication management services; and assessment services. Youth Villages’ Greensboro staff also provide a transitional living program to help former foster youth who have grown up in state custody make a successful transition into independent adulthood, helping them beat unemployment and homelessness, complete their education and avoid incarceration.

Youth Villages has a long history of partnering with state government and private foundations to improve child welfare, children’s mental health and juvenile justice systems. The organization has been named by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofits that transform communities with innovative ideas, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and was the subject of a case study by the Harvard Business School.