Since 1971, the Briarpatch Runaway & Homeless Youth Program has helped more than 10,000 youth in need. One of YSOSW’s core services, the program serves approximately 250 youth and families each year.
The Runaway & Homeless Youth Program offers counseling, outreach, mediation, support and case management assistance. Child abuse/neglect, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, mental health concerns, homelessness, and juvenile crime are just some of the issues with which we deal. Licensed by the State of Wisconsin as a Child Welfare/Child Placing Agency, YSOSW provides youth in need of temporary housing with shelter in licensed volunteer host-homes.
There are three main components to the Runaway & Homeless Youth Program:
Temporary Shelter - Briarpatch maintains a system of licensed volunteer host homes for teens in need of temporary shelter. If a teen faces an unsafe home environment, is a runaway, or has lost housing, these volunteer homes provide shelter until the situation can be resolved. Briarpatch also works with the YWCA and other agencies to ensure that temporary and emergency housing is available 24 hours a day.
Case Management Assistance - Briarpatch’s Youth Counseling team responds directly to the specific needs of each individual client. If a teen requires help finding permanent housing, our staff helps guide them through the process. If a youth requires help establishing employment, Briarpatch helps them perform a job search and prepare for interviews. If a family faces child custody issues, we work with the families and government agencies involved to resolve the problem.
24-Hour Counseling - Trained volunteer counselors and staff operate a 24-hour help-line to help youth handle pressing needs involving personal safety, mental health problems, housing and other vital concerns. Toll free 1-800 numbers are available to those in outlying rural areas.
Service accessibility is a top priority for the Runaway & Homeless Youth Program. All services are provided at no cost to clients. The program is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year though our help-line (1-800-798-1126). In Dane County, counseling services are available on a walk-in basis, 9am to 9pm, Monday through Friday.