Child custody care systems provide safety, shelter, and guidance for children. Once old enough to live on their own, youths oftentimes exit foster care or the mental health placement system with nowhere to go and no knowledge of how to make it successfully in adult society. The PATH project primarily reaches youth who aged out of the foster system, but also aids young adults in the custody of the Division of Youth Services, homeless youth or those whose home life is harmful.
Ozark Center PATH provides long-term housing options for young adults age 17-22. To qualify, participants must have a serious emotional disturbance determined through an assessment. PATH teaches effective coping skills and offers a transitional housing opportunity and services that ease the adjustment to adult life.
Those accepted into the program must seek and secure employment. Until the person finds a job, PATH provides a fully furnished apartment and living expenses. Once the young man or woman secures a job and learns necessary independent living skills, he or she pays rent and expenses on a sliding scale.
In March 2013, Ozark Center opened a second Pre-Adult Transitional Housing (PATH) apartment complex, doubling the number of young adults Ozark Center can house.
- Safe, stable housing
- Basic life-skill building
- Consumer education, including budgeting, using credit, and housekeeping
- Interpersonal-skill building, including establishing positive relationships with peers and adults, managing stress, and making decisions
- Educational opportunities (GED preparation, postsecondary training, or vocational education)
- Career counseling and help finding a job
- Help obtaining a driver’s license, Social Security card, and birth certificate
- Education, information, and counseling to prevent, treat, and reduce substance abuse
- Mental healthcare, including individual and group counseling and in-home community support services
- Help securing Medicaid health benefits, physical healthcare, health assessments, and emergency treatment by referral