Providing Kids a Safe Haven

The following organization hopes to break the cycle of homelessness for many families in the Atlanta, GA area:

For well over 25 years, the Atlanta Children's Shelter (ACS) have provided a safe and loving day shelter for homeless children and have extended a helping hand to families trying to attain self-sufficiency. Their mission is simple; their shelter strives to offer homeless kids a safe haven, completely free of charge, for as long it is needed.

The system used by the Atlanta Children’s Shelter has a proven track record.  Since they began in 1986, they have successfully assisted in stabilizing nearly 5,000 homeless families and over 8,000 homeless children by transitioning homeless families into stable housing and sustainable employment.

The caring staff and teachers at ACS provKid on swingide their kids with hope, love and reassurance everyday by offering access to medical attention, educational and enrichment activities, daily meals, nutritional snacks, access to clothing, and even field trips for up to 40 children per day. Their goal is not only to expand so that they can serve more area families and children, but also to help families served achieve a lifetime of stability and self-sufficiency.  The following is a list of some of the programs offered by the Atlanta Children’s Shelter:

Early Childhood Education and Enrichment Activities – At the Atlanta Children’s shelter, they prioritize creating an environment where kids feel safe, can grow and learn.  To accomplish this, they provide access to basic needs like two daily nutritional meals, snacks and biweekly, medical evaluations. At the medical evaluations, kids can receive immunizations and referrals to primary healthcare providers. Children who attend ACS also have access to an education, whereas many public school institutions in the area require a permanent physical address.

These opportunities extend well past a basic education, which is customized to the specific needs of the homeless children in attendance. The Atlanta Children’s Shelter broadens the horizons of their students by offering foreign language classes, music and art education and activities that encourage dance and fitness. This enrichment program takes it one step further by giving children the option to participate in various cultural and enrichment activities, including weekly field trips to Fernback, the Atlanta Zoo and other fun places local children enjoy. 

Support Groups and Workshops – Parents taking advantage of the resources offered by the Atlanta Children’s shelter are provided the opportunity to attend hosted support groups and workshops.  These onsite support groups and workshops cover a variety of topics ranging from “Communication Skills” to “Nutrition,”  and they are provided with the hopes that participants will develop valuable life skills and learn ways to cope with the stressors uniquely related to parenting while in the homeless system.

Case Management Services – The case management services offered by the Atlanta Children’s Center are unparalleled. These services are tailored to the individual needs of the parents and families and start with assessment and goal setting. 

After a thorough assessment of family needs, an ACS case management representative and parent develop mutually agreed upon goals for self-sufficiency. These goals are formally stated on a Service Plan, which serves as a contract between the parent and the Atlanta Children’s Shelter for the length of enrollment.

Once the Service Plan is defined, counseling begins to ease stress relating to housing, employment, education, medical and emotional needs, and financial challenges.  Case management representatives also help parents connect with local resources to find housing, employment, food assistance, etc.

Job Track Employment Program and Transition to Permanent Housing – Jobs are limited, especially in today’s market.  Facing the challenge of finding employment can be a difficult journey for homeless parents.  Parents using services provided by ACS, not only can take advantage of the free childcare at the day shelter, but also become enrolled in the Job Track Employment Program. This terrific program offers job readiness education and counseling services to build life skills necessary to achieve permanent employment.  Some of the services provided include job leads, job search resources, resume workshops, interview training, access to professional clothing, and transportation assistance.

After employment, the next step needed in breaking the cycle of homelessness is leaving the shelter system and attaining permanent housing.  To help, ACS has a broad selection of services to help make the transition easier. Some of these services include credit counseling, money management classes, furniture referrals, home starter kits, and transitional childcare. Rent and utility deposit assistance is sometimes provided to participating parents when funds are available.

The Aftercare Program – This unique program provides ongoing care to families for up to one year after they have found permanent housing and employment.  Case management representatives help these families by monitoring their progress through follow-up appointments, counseling services and advocacy services. Emergency financial assistance can also be provided when funds are available.

For more information about the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, call (404) 892-3713 or visit their website http://www.acsatl.org/.  

If you or a loved one has a disability and would like more information about Social Security Disability benefits or need assistance in applying for Social Security Disability benefits, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476).


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