KYFS continued doing what it does best in 2011, providing innovative programs and services that see children, youth and their families thrive and grow towards a better future.

MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Throughout the past year, KYFS took steps to further implement cutting-edge best practices and evidence based approaches to its work. The KYFS Counseling and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs merged into one seamless Counseling Program. Mental Health Therapists and Chemical Dependency Professionals now work as one team of professionals on a continuum of services for youth experiencing emotional and behavioral disturbances, to “dually disordered” emotional/behavioral and chemical abusing youth, to youth only exhibiting struggles with drugs and alcohol at their young age. It’s a singular approach to treatment that is being closely observed for its successful integration by a number of funders and regulatory agencies.

The After School Outreach and Lighthouse Programs, delved deeper into best practices application by being a member of the Raikes Foundation third cohort of its successful “Youth Program Quality Initiative” (YPQI). The programs have intensified their academic support efforts by becoming a certified Student Educational Support (SES) provider through the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, under a contract with Kent School District. These programs' efforts were further recognized and were awarded first-time funding from Norcliffe Foundation, Aven Foundation and Safeco Foundation. As part of the partnership represented by Building Better Futures, both the Outreach and Lighthouse programs and KYFS’s Head Start and ECEAP early childhood education programs are actively developing an ongoing intensive strategy, “The East Hill Education Initiative,” to assure that each child living in King County Housing Authority public housing communities in Kent is successful in school.

KYFS’s early education efforts, Head Start and ECEAP, with their recognized successes in preparing preschoolers with multiple needs for kindergarten, was selected for expansion of their classrooms, resulting from the Washington Legislature’s expansion funding in 2011, at a time of well known reductions in funds and services across many reaches of state government.

Watson Manor Transitional Living Program passed a significant milestone in its history. After completing KYFS’s 20-year commitment to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD became the second of the original capital investors reconveying its interest to KYFS during 2011. It is rare such housing projects, particularly begun by a small agency such as KYFS during 1990-91, begin and continue to perform and thrive, ultimately fulfilling its commitment to original government capital investors. KYFS reached that milestone with HUD in 2011 and previously with Washington State Department of Commerce a few years ago. KYFS’s commitment to King County, as the third capital investor, continues until 2026, a date KYFS fully intends to achieve in continuous operation of Watson Manor.

KYFS re-energized our fund development and communications efforts during 2011. Absent a full-time position to handle these critical functions, we developed this full-time, in-house position, and hired Nathan Box, newly arrived to the Pacific NW. No doubt many of you have read the social media materials from KYFS during the past year and/or attended a KYFS event. All of these are the work of Nathan and the Board’s Fundraising Committee. Many of you have given highly positive comments on these efforts during the past year.

For a community-based organization like KYFS, it is important to recognize when program changes are needed in order to continue to thrive in the service areas that are having the most impact on the children and youth of the community. Thus, KYFS eliminated its Hott Shotts coffee stand at the King County Regional Justice Center at the end of 2011. KYFS was fortunate to have Tina McKenzie as the long time Hott Shotts Site Supervisor. who became the face of KYFS to the hundreds of people every day at RJC, and we wish her thanks and fond farewell. The good news is that KYFS also recognizes when “someone can do it better!” KYFS successfully worked with King County, transferring the ownership of Hott Shotts to the emerging Halo Foundation here in Kent, with its own mission to provide work training experiences in the hospitality food industry to homeless and at risk youth/young adults.

I am continuously proud of the work done every day of every year here at KYFS, and the opportunities throughout the year to speak of KYFS’s work in multiple settings to a huge variety of people. It is the staff, both program and support/administrative staff, of KYFS who are the engine of positive change for children, youth and families, and should be commended for each and every one of their individual commitments to the work. You will receive a small sampling of that work in 2011 in the pages of this annual report.

I also would like to thank the KYFS Board of Directors who once again marvelously fulfilled their governance responsibility on behalf of the community during 2011.

Michael Heinisch
Executive Director