At-Risk Youth

Helping Youth in-care successfully transition to mature, independent adulthood.

How We Help At-Risk Youth

In order for young people to learn and develop in a healthy way, they need to feel safe and supported. Our out-of-home residential programs in Northern New Jersey provide the necessary guidance for youth who are preparing to age out of foster care and into independent adulthood. In addition to being homeless, some of our clients may also experience emotional, behavioral and/or psychological difficulties. Our at-risk youth programs have passed rigorous standards set by the internationally renowned organization, the Council on Accreditation, enabling our clients to thrive in a stable environment.

In New Jersey we provide:

Transitional Shelters

Our shelters offer emergency housing for youth ages 11-17. The duration of each person’s stay can last up to 30 days, during which time our staff work to find permanent, stable living situations and collaborate with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency to ensure that each child transitions into an environment that meets his or her needs.

Group Homes

Our group home, located in the historic section of Plainfield, New Jersey, provides a supportive environment for males ages 13-19. The program is staffed 24/7 with youth care counselors who offer residents an opportunity to gain life skills that encourage independence while working on behavioral goals. These staff members provide consistent care and supervision, playing a crucial role in the lives of these young men. There is also a clinical specialist on staff who provides individual and group counseling for the residents.

Some of the services offered include:

  • Comprehensive assessment and treatment planning
  • Activities of daily living assistance
  • Life skills development
  • Trauma informed services
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Recreation
  • Behavior modifications
  • Connections to community supports and family

Independent Living Programs and Supportive Housing

When young people age out of foster care, their options are limited. Our four independent living programs in New Jersey provide the stepping stones to adulthood that at-risk youth need to thrive. Residents range in age from 18-20 years old, and live in supervised apartments with a roommate. Our staff is there to support them as well as actively teach skills that they will need to live independently.

Step-Up is a supportive housing program that is also geared toward 18-20-year-olds, who have aged out of the foster system and are at risk of being homeless. Each resident works with a case manager to learn independent living skills and has access to a range of resources until their 21st birthday.

How We Help Families

Parenting Skills Partnership Program

The Parenting Skills Partnership Program is an in-home program that provides support and training to families with foster or adopted children. This 16-week program teaches parenting skills and techniques to deal with a multitude of behavioral programs. It is designed to be a proactive tool that willl avoid disruption of placement and offer the children and families a sense of stability. This program can provide services in Bergen, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties.

Parent Empowerment and Childrearing Education (PEACE)

The PEACE Program provides support and training to families through in-home visits in Passaic County. The bilingual licensed clinicians help struggling families remain intact. The ultimate goal of the PEACE Program is to increase healthy, positive parenting practices, to prevent child maltreatment occurrence or recurrence, and increase safety, permanency, and well-being.

For more information on either of these programs, call (732) 827-2443.

Watch this video about Max, a former resident of Alpha House:

"So many kids end up lost in the foster care system. I honestly think that if I had spent one more day without Volunteers of America, I would be in jail."

Sasha, a former Independent Living Program resident



Our At-Risk Youth Programs are certified by the Council on Accreditation