YWCA of Cleveland Empowers Our Community’s Most Vulnerable

Through their Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) program, the YWCA of Cleveland helps transition young adults who have aged out of foster care to be thriving and engaged members of the community.

YWCA Helps Cleveland's Most Vulnerable

According to the YWCA of Cleveland, each year about 200 youth in Cuyahoga County age out of foster care after their 18th birthday. The obstacles these young people face during their first four years on their own are not promising:  

  • 25% will have become homeless
  • 60% will have become unmarried parents
  • <20% are able to support themselves
  • 25% report encounters with the legal system
  • 56% have not graduated from high school
  • 64% have earnings below poverty level
  • 51% are dependent on income assistance through government programs

In response to these odds, the YWCA of Cleveland established the Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) program. NIA provides comprehensive supportive services and case management for young adults who have aged out of foster care and are living at YWCA’s permanent supportive housing residence, Independence Place

The YWCA states in a 2017 report that this life-changing combination of housing, supportive services and case management “enables our residents to achieve self-sufficiency, and ultimately transition back into our community as independent young adults.”

Since Independence Place opened in 2011, 85% of 50 former residents who participated in NIA supportive services made positive exits into the community. That impact in part comes from the close bonds formed between the residents and the trauma-informed case managers NIA provides, called “Life Coaches.” Life Coaches partner with residents to assess areas of weakness in self-sufficiency, create plans for addressing those areas through a three-phase intervention process, and then work with residents to carry out their plans. The positive exits continue to develop as success stories, with almost 40% of former IP residents maintaining connection with YWCA staff, 95% maintaining stable housing, and 42% employed.

The Callahan Foundation is proud to support the YWCA of Cleveland and help empower our community’s most vulnerable. Learn more about the YWCA of Cleveland and their Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) program.