Wheaton Youth Outreach (WYO) is a comprehensive youth and family resource center offering transitional housing and family stabilization services, serving the greater Wheaton area since 1973. Staff are professionally trained to minister to each person’s physical, social and spiritual needs. Services are available without preference to all people and, where fees apply, based on one’s ability to pay.
The Transitions Program is a critical service for older teens and young adults and their families in DuPage County. It primarily serves young women who are homeless, ages 17 to 24 years old, with the opportunity to become financially and emotionally independent and transition successfully into adulthood.
The process of developing these skills begins by providing residents with a safe and supportive home life, coupled with personalized support, structure and mutually trusting relationships between the residents, their foster parents or host families and the Transitions Program staff.
While in residence, participants learn skills and develop personal habits that will transfer to their independent housing situation after graduation. Residents are responsible for contributing toward the cost of their care through part-time employment that covers a program fee and their personal expenses. They are supported by their case manager to access community resources and obtain services for themselves such as career, education, medical and mental health services and the spiritual care necessary for their well-being.
Jubilee Village is a transitional and independent, supportive housing program for single, formerly homeless mothers between the ages of 18 and 24 and their children. The program is designed to holistically address the myriad needs of its residents, many of whom enter the program with histories of family discord and domestic violence and without financial resources or job skills. Young mothers referred to the program generally require other wrap-around services such as counseling, case management and parenting classes. Experienced couples reside at the facility, volunteering their services as house parents, offering guidance and support, and help maintain a safe and loving community.
Private foster care parents serve in two capacities at WYO. The first capacity provides for emergency or short term care for an at-risk teen ages 11-17 who has been abruptly displaced from the home. The second capacity provides longer term housing for youth entering the Transitions Program. Families who are interested in serving as foster parents are encouraged to call the staff at WYO for a consultation.
Counseling services are provided at WYO through Outreach Community Counseling Centers. Our Counseling Centers have been working with individuals and families in this area for over 40 years. We have helped people find hope when it was gone and find solutions when they had almost given up. Staff therapists are trained in the latest research and use practices that have been shown to work in addressing a wide variety of concerns. Each year, our professionally trained therapists provide individual, couples and family counseling for more than 1,000 people in the community.
WYO therapists assist professionals from other services providers (e.g., schools, police departments, churches, hospitals) in assessing individual and family crises. Our therapists recommend clinical treatment options and social services that address the needs of the individuals or families in crisis. These services may be provided by WYO or other community agencies.
Case Management is the process of assessing the needs of an individual or family and, when appropriate, facilitating services to meet those specific needs. At WYO, Case Management exists to help Wheaton and Glen Ellyn residents facing a financial crisis access any and all community assistance for which they are eligible.
When an individual or family is living on a limited income, a sudden crisis or unforeseen event can result in an inability to meet monthly expenses. With the aim of preventing homelessness, a WYO case manager will meet with a client, assess the financial need and determine if there are government monies for which the client might be eligible. In addition to financial assistance, the case manager may refer a client to other resources that may help meet their physical or emotional needs.
Crisis Intervention for Youth and Families
The Crisis Intervention Program serves at-risk youth between the ages of 11 and 17 who are in crisis at home or in school, or are at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. This program has three goals:
- to keep at-risk youth safe
- to reunify and preserve families of at-risk youth
- to prevent or minimize involvement of at-risk youth and the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
The Crisis Intervention Coordinator at WYO works with self-referred youth and youth that are referred by families, local police departments, schools, court and probation services and other social services agencies to address the needs of at-risk youth and their families. The Crisis Intervention Team members are licensed individual and family therapists, qualified to deliver a range of crisis and counseling services.
WYO provides 24/7 crisis intervention support to police departments in Central/Western DuPage County, responding to crisis calls about runaway, locked out and ungovernable youth. Resolution of the immediate crisis is followed by counseling services to help the family deal with the underlying issues that led to the crisis.
Church Social Work
WYO partners with local congregations to help meet the needs of their parishioners. Consultation, assessment and practical assistance are offered on a fee-for-service basis.
In addition to parish social work, WYO acts as the administrator for Churches United for Hardship Assistance (CUHA) in Wheaton. This union of churches pools their resources to aid residents facing financial hardship. Instead of churches discerning who receives charitable assistance, they refer those who knock on their door to WYO so our professional staff can assist with homeless prevention funds or utilize the combined church funds to help them.