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Previously I talked about many of the serious issues facing area youth. But there are also many great things this area has to offer; from great service programs, good schools, supportive businesses and caring individual donors and volunteers. In the coming weeks we will be highlighting many of those. I would to start by talking about our agency.
Northern Oklahoma Youth Services Center and Shelter, Inc. is a private non-profit agency governed by a local Board of Directors. Services are provided to Kay, Noble and Pawnee counties in north central Oklahoma. Incorporated in 1971 NOYS has provided preventative programs to youth and families in Kay, Noble, and Pawnee Counties for the past 41 years. Over the past four decades, it has evolved into a multi-county program that exists to strengthen families, decrease the occurrence of child abuse and neglect, family violence, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency.
Agency goals and objectives are developed to support this mission. NOYS’s ongoing planning process gives consideration to the expectations of clients and their families, expectations of other stakeholders including funding sources, key indicators in the local service area, service area demographics, and NOYS's capabilities. Input is obtained from stakeholders, staff, and clients (and families) on an ongoing basis using a variety of methods (Agency plans, suggestions, complaints, grievances, performance evaluations, performance improvement activities, etc. Resources are allocated to meet the needs identified in the Community Needs Assessment and based on the most efficient use of scarce funds. The overall philosophy can be stated pretty simply though, “Is it good for kids? Does it fit our basic mission? And can we afford it?” Based on this philosophy we still provide our basic core services listed above, and allocate resources accordingly.
NOYS’s belief (that is strongly supported by current literature) is that effective prevention and intervention requires a two-pronged approach.
Risk Factors are personal characteristics or environmental conditions scientifically established to increase the likelihood of problem behavior.
Protective Factors are personal characteristics or environmental conditions that interact with risk factors scientifically established to reduce the likelihood of problem behavior.
Research has repeatedly identified risk factors associated with adolescent problem behaviors, such as failure to complete high school, teen pregnancy and criminal activity. However, these negative consequences can be delayed or prevented by protective factors such as enriching the early childhood environment and preparing youth for school. This approach indicates that no single factor is essential but rather multiple factors combine to contribute to and shape behavior over the course of child development.
In the coming weeks we will discuss a number of agencies and services available to local families.
NOYS Executive Director
Northern Oklahoma Youth Service’s (NOYS) mission is to empower and advocate for children, adolescents, and families at-risk in North Central Oklahoma through home, agency and school based programs offering temporary shelter for children and adolescents, integrated behavioral health outpatient counseling, prevention, and intervention services.
As a part of this mission I would like to introduce a new segment we will be hosting here on this page. This segment will hopefully grow into a trusted resource for parents, especially for pre-school age youth. But first I would like to give just a little background.
Research has repeatedly identified risk factors associated with adolescent problem behaviors, such as failure to complete high school, teen pregnancy and criminal activity. The rates of such factors and the prevalence of teen pregnancy, child abuse, high school dropout and juvenile violent crime is compelling evidence of concern for area youth. Kay County is 77th worst of 77 counties for juvenile violent crime rates, 77th worst of 77 counties for juvenile substance abuse, 75th worst of 77 counties for high school drop outs, 70th of 77 counties for births to young teens.
However, these negative consequences can be delayed or prevented by protective factors such as enriching the early childhood environment and preparing youth for school. The prevalence of teen pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, high school dropouts and juvenile violent crime is documented and compelling evidence of need.
Our goal is to enhance protective factors and minimize the risk factors affecting our youth. The programs and services offered by NOYS are predominantly preventative in nature and components of all of our programs are designed to reduce the likelihood of problem behavior later. Our premise is rooted in the recognition that early childhood is the primary delivery point for successful prevention and intervention. Research has shown, and early childhood educators universally understand, that children’s social and emotional skills are vital for school readiness and are key building blocks for cognitive development and knowledge acquisition at very young ages. Parents and family enrichment is critical to development. Parents should be supported and empowered and educated if needed. Ethnic and cultural values should be recognized and validated.
We will be continually providing updates on services available here at our agency as well as throughout the community. We would also like to hear from parents and community members. On questions you may have, concerns or opportunities for enriching the lives of young people.
NOYS Executive Director