Multi-System Youth

New Youth Housing Program Fills Important Gap for Children and Young Adults

All too often, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who face more serious behavioral challenges and setbacks that require out-of-the-home placement have nowhere in their community to receive treatment. In response, Koinonia has partnered with Summit County to open two multi-system youth homes that address these individuals’ unique needs and provide a missing care solution for this often-neglected population.

For youth ages 5 to 17 who require temporary, short-term care, Koinonia’s new transitional housing allows them to receive the therapy they need while living in a safe, home-like environment.

Previously, these children were often placed in a larger center focused on addressing behavioral concerns, but offered no specialized care for those with IDD. Many times, these placements are outside of their home county or even state. The institutional nature of these centers can often be jarring for those with IDD, making training and re-entry into their homes difficult.

Koinonia’s first multi-system youth home opened in February 2020, integrated trauma-informed care for all of its residents, and has been so successful that a second home was opened in August 2020. In addition to caring for children ages 5 to 17, the second home takes advantage of a duplex layout to also serve young adults ages 18 to 22 who can focus on skills training and development.

Koinonia’s new youth housing model offers short-term respite and longer-term care—up to six months—for children with both IDD and behavioral concerns. The placement is in a home environment and care is provided by a single set of live-in “house parent(s)”—who provide much-needed consistency and oversight, but without requiring the rigid schedule frequently found at institutions. These resident house caregivers focus on teaching important life skills and appropriate behavioral responses to the youth, while their parents are able to find reprieve from the taxing caregiving these children often require—all the while maintaining their guardianship.

The successful model of these homes is due in large part to the collaborative nature in which they have been developed: residential caregivers are backed by Koinonia’s expertise and resources, along with the support of the county and the involvement of the youth’s parents or guardians—all working to help each youth grow and find success in their lives.


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