EmberHope Youthville Moves Secure Care Program to Wichita

Chad Frey
The Kansan

EmberHope Youthville, home to the largest female Secure Care Program in Kansas for at-risk girls ages 10-18, just  announced a move.

EmberHope Youthville, home to the largest female Secure Care Program in Kansas for at-risk girls ages 10-18, just  announced a move.

The move from a cottage on the Newton Youthville Campus to a newly leased and renovated space in Sedgwick County’s Juvenile Detention Center in Wichita will allow for the program to increase its capacity from 12 to 16 residents.

“Our wonderful partnership with Sedgwick County Juvenile Services has provided this amazing opportunity for us to expand our program to serve more girls who need our help,” said Lori Gonzales, Chief Program Officer. “We are equally thrilled for the new space as it allows us to streamline important services including behavioral health, education, gymnasium for recreation, and a cafeteria all within a highly safe and secure space.”

Gonzales said the move has created an immediate impact on the girls in the program.

“When I visited last week, one of our secure care girls was excited to show off her own room, furnished with new bedding,” said Gonzales, “It was seeing her reaction and the conversation we had about the new space which confirmed why this move was so important.”

Secure Care serves girls ages 10-18 with chronic runaway behaviors who the courts have deemed “children in need of care.”

EmberHope Youthville’s structured environment and trauma-informed services allow the residents to address behaviors in a safe and secure environment, decreasing the likelihood of future behavioral episodes.

EmberHope Youthville stressed the move is an expansion of the program.  In order to serve more youth, EmberHope Youthville is actively seeking employees interested in working at this new facility in Wichita.

In 2011, an initiative by the state of Kansas to reduce the number of children in residential psychiatric services led to fewer children on the Newton campus. Demand was increasing on the organization’s second campus in Kansas and services moved out of Newton.

EmberHope reopened the Newton Youthville campus in 2017, and has been breathing life back into the facility ever since. That effort took a step forward this in July, when the organization announced the launch of EmberHope Youthville received $1 million in state funds to launch a  Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility.

That facility is a pilot program designed to offer a short-term, intense, focused treatment with priority to serve non-custody clients who have been on a waiting list to receive this level of treatment to successfully return to the community.

The Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF), is a short-term program designed for female clients between the ages of 12 and 18 living within a 60 mile-range of the campus.

PRTF works actively with the family, other agencies, and the community to offer  treatment designed to meet the client's individual needs. According to EmberHope, a critical component of the program includes a six-month aftercare component after the client returns home. The therapeutic environment is trauma-informed and supported by Evidence-Based Program models such as Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).