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ChristieCare and Youth Villages celebrate merger 
with drumming, honor songs

June 2, 2011
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ChristieCare of Oregon and Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization, celebrated their merger yesterday during ceremonies at the organization’s Lake Oswego campus.

The new organization, called Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon, is bringing intensive in-home services to families in Clackamas and Washington counties, while continuing ChristieCare’s 150-year history of providing residential and other services to troubled children and youth.

“This is an important moment for both ChristieCare and families in crisis in Oregon who are looking for effective and cost-effective help for themselves and their children,” said Lynne Saxton, executive director of Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon and former CEO of ChristieCare. “We’re excited to be able to safely help troubled children and their families in their own homes, and to allow children to remain with their families whenever possible. We’re also excited to be enhancing our residential programs for Oregon’s youth.”

The strength of the community’s commitment to ChristieCare was shown in the success of its recent Turning Point Campaign. Significant donations were made by Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Collins Foundation and other private donors.

Saxton led the merger ceremony, followed by a presentation by Youth Villages CEO Patrick W. Lawler and Sister Wanda of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, the order that founded ChristieCare in 1859. The celebration featured Native American elements, including honor songs and drumming with children receiving help through the organization.

Youth Villages-ChristieCare offers one of the only culturally responsive residential treatment programs for Native American children in the country, Cedar Bough. The program helps children from the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon and Native American children from other communities in the Pacific Northwest.

The organization already has begun an intensive in-home program, called Oregon Intercept, designed to help children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues and their families in their own homes. Family intervention specialists help families by visiting them in their homes a minimum of three times a week at times convenient for the families. The specialists, most of whom have master’s degrees in psychology, counseling or social work, are available to the children and families they help 24/7. The goal of the program is to prevent at-risk youth from entering state custody and to help children already in out-of-home placements return to a family member as quickly as possible.

“What we need in Oregon are proven, cost-effective alternatives to more expensive foster care and residential services, as well as prevention services that allow us to preserve and strengthen families before they fall apart,” Saxton said. “That’s exactly what we are now able to offer to Oregon’s children and families.”

Oregon Intercept is modeled after Youth Villages’ successful Intercept program, an intensive in-home program backed by more than 15 years of research. Data show that of the more than 20,000 children and families Youth Villages has helped through the program, more than 80 percent continue to live successfully at home two years after completing the program.

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