Abbott House Fills the Gap
Abbott House has been caring for young people since 1939. Today Abbott House provides a home, a school and therapeutic care for 45 girls ages 7 to 17 who are victims of trauma, abuse, neglect or behavioral disorders. Once these girls graduate from their treatment program, they need a positive family setting in which to continue their healthy living patterns.
Abbott House supporters understood this gap in services. In 2013-2014 those donors came together to build two Bridges Therapeutic Foster Homes in Mitchell, SD, so young girls in our care could grow up with a family and a home. To assist individuals turning 18, Abbott House created independent living apartments for the young adults who used this program, and the results are compelling.
Those homes were so successful that the South Dakota Department of Social Services asked Abbott House leadership to provide two therapeutic foster homes for homeless boys and girls in Rapid City. In 2015-2016, Abbott House opened two Bridges Therapeutic Foster Homes in Rapid City – one for six boys and one for six girls. In 2018, with nearly 400 homeless children in the Rapid City area, Abbott House was asked to build two more therapeutic foster homes with independent living apartments for homeless children and young adults. Those homes and apartments will be completed and opened in 2020.
Current Abbott House Programs
- Psychiatric residential treatment center serves 45 girls ages 7 to 17 in Mitchell;
- Five therapeutic foster homes serve 29 children ages 10 to 17 in three girls’ homes in Mitchell and two homes in Rapid City — one for boys and one for girls
- Two more therapeutic foster homes are under construction in Rapid City – one for boys and one for girls
- Independent living program – Four independent living apartments for girls in Mitchell; independent living apartments for four young adult women and four young adult men are under construction in Rapid City
- Individualized Education – Every young person in our care receives an education program based on their individual needs.
The Ongoing Problem
Young people aging out of foster care still need assistance. The homes Abbott House completed provide opportunities for children, but young adults who are aging out of foster care, are still struggling. In South Dakota, between 50 and 100 young people transition out of the foster care system every year with inadequate support to become successful young adults.
Of youth who “age out” of the Foster Care System at 18 years of age:
- Only 46% of youth were employed
- 25% were involved in the criminal justice system within 2 years of leaving care
- 20% end up in a homeless situation
Young adults who remain in care and have minimal support past age 18:
- Double the odds they would be working or in high school at 19 years of age
- Double the odds of earning a college degree
- Reduce pregnancy before age 20 by 38%
* Statistics taken from the national conference on state legislatures
Funding the Solution
The Abbott House Board of Directors has authorized a $1 million fund drive to purchase and remodel a current structure to provide a therapeutic foster home for six boys ages 10 to 17 and apartments for up to six young men ages 18 to 23. This fund drive will also create an endowment fund for ongoing maintenance and emergency support for program participants.
The fund drive has been gifted $250,000 from an anonymous private donor. Additional proposals for funding come from various granting agencies. The balance of the fund drive is presented to the greater Mitchell community for funding. Contributions will be received in the form of pledges of up to five years, one-time gifts of cash and marketable assets, needed and agreed upon gifts-in-kind and contributions through Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from donors age 72 ½ and older with IRA’s and employer funded retirement programs). In order to fully meet the proposed $1 million fund drive goal, the gifts in the quantities listed on the back page of this brochure will need to be received from individuals, families, foundations and businesses.
Raised to date: $684,769.60
- Boys therapeutic foster home in Mitchell will provide a home and family for 6 boys ages 10 to 17 and 4 independent living apartments for young men ages 18 to 23.
- COVID has caused increase in need for foster families throughout South Dakota.
- Some children’s agencies not accepting new youth during the pandemic, so Abbott House has been asked to open as quickly as possible
- Tentative opening date: Fall 2020.
- We need your help to finish the work.