“Your Aftercare Program is a vital part of the conclusion of the Bonnie-Brae Program. We are all so grateful for everyone at Bonnie Brae that helped us through the program. We hit a lot of speed bumps in the road in the beginning and ended with a remarkable smooth road. Anyone that sees Donald to this day cannot believe the change in him. Thank you all!!!!!” ~ Parents of a former Bonnie Brae student
Bonnie Brae recognizes that our service cannot end when young men walk out of our doors. The Aftercare/IIC Services Program is a natural extension of our Continuum of Care and an integral part of our mission to help young men reclaim their futures and become productive, responsible citizens in their communities.
Aftercare services was first established to assists our graduates at their most statistically vulnerable point: returning to their home communities after completing treatment; or beginning life as an independent adult after aging out of child welfare services. Prior to its creation, many promising young men who had successfully graduated from our intensive education and therapeutic program on campus found themselves thrust into the real world without the guidance and support an intact family would normally provide. When these former residents were confronted by the challenges of life, they had no one to turn to for help. More than 20,000 young people age out of foster care and child services in the United States every year. Numerous research, including the 2007 “Midwest Study” conducted by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, shows that without a connection to a caring adult, older youth face a future of uncertainty and are often left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations, including substance abuse, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and prison. Young men, in particular, are in crisis, especially boys of color and those from challenged backgrounds. The Aftercare Program was created to serve this need by providing a system of support and continued guidance as these young people reintegrate into their families or are learning to support themselves and navigate society. With the right guidance and attention, their odds of becoming successful, independent adults increase dramatically. With the Aftercare Program as an essential component of our continuum of services, Bonnie Brae is better able to fulfill its mission to provide the highest quality of care possible to New Jersey’s youth in need, for as long as there is need.
In 2017, Bonnie Brae expanded its Aftercare services to service community youth and focus on clinical treatment. While the first iteration of Aftercare was rooted in informal supports, the new Aftercare program is clinically centered. Bonnie Brae now provides intensive-in community (IIC) services to both Bonnie Brae youth and community youth outside of Bonnie Brae. IIC is a crisis stabilization service. Treatment goals are tailored to each individual and family’s needs, and are aimed at strengthening and preserving the family constellation. IIC services have been an integral portion of our graduates’ success in transitioning home and into the community positively. Bonnie Brae’s vision of impact now extends to non-Bonnie brae youth, as we service youth and families in twelve Northern region counties, as well as working with females and young youth. Bonnie Brae is committed to being and impactful presence in our graduate’s lives, and in the lives of youth and families in the community. Our vision is continuously expanding, and we look forward to becoming an even greater resource to youth and families in the future.