In June, Casa de Belen announced a temporary cease of services as the board searched for ways to address financial difficulties that had plagued the Roseburg youth shelter for years. When no solutions could be found, that hiatus became a permanent closure, leaving a hole in services for an already underserved part of the community.

Family Faith And Relationship Advocates, a nonprofit that celebrated its second anniversary on Wednesday, stepped forward to fill that gap.

According to Executive Director Robert Miller, FARA’s goal for its new youth-focused program is to create safe environments for families to thrive, provide safety, support and therapeutic education to families and at-risk children of Douglas County in an atmosphere where restoration and rebuilding lives can begin.

FARA offers both group and individual services for anyone in Douglas County. Along with individual therapy, play therapy for children, couples therapy and family therapy, the downtown Roseburg business also offers a variety of group classes and programs such as Outgrowing Power, Anger and Control (OPAC), Parenting After Crisis (PAC), True Insight Parenting Strategies (TIPS) parenting classes, Safe Families for Children of Douglas County and the newly added FARA4Youth program, which was created to fill the gap left by Casa’s closure.

FARA4Youth provides immediate support. The hotline, 541-229-0126, is staffed 24 hours a day by someone who will drop everything — night or day — to assist youth in need. The hotline offers crisis intervention, assistance finding a place with Hearts with a Mission youth shelter in Josephine county, counseling for both the youth and their family members, family mediation, parent education and other services.

“Temporarily, for the next two years, if we have a child or runaway teen that needs temporary shelter, someone from the Josephine County shelter will come up and give temporary shelter. Obviously, the number one goal is to get them reunified with their family, if that’s possible. If it’s healthy,” Miller said.

Miller said assistance would continue even after the youth is placed in the out-of-county shelter. The goal, he said, is to continue expanding the Safe Families for Children of Douglas County program. Miller hopes that by the end of the two-year contract with Hearts with a Mission, there will be 70 local families trained as Safe Family hosts.

“A lot of what the world is showing us is that the shelter model doesn’t work anymore,” Miller said. “But what we are finding out is that there does need to be a shelter (locally). We will probably open one up but with four to six beds instead of 18 beds, cause that model doesn’t work. You can’t finance it and your small communities can’t pick up the expenses, so we’re going to offer Safe Families but know that there is a small percentage — 5-8% of kids — that will need a shelter.”

Miller has been in talks with professionals from various agencies throughout the county to help address the at-risk youth problem. He said at any given time, there are about 70 youths in Douglas County that are considered at-risk or homeless. Since Casa went on hiatus in June, FARA has helped five youth find temporary shelter, then helped improve the situation at home enough for those youth to return to a safe environment with their families.

“It’s about connection,” Miller said. “We want to make our community healthy one client at a time, one family at a time. We don’t turn anyone away for belief systems, gender, race, creed, where you were born, have lots of bling bling or chump change, we will walk the journey with you and I think our community is starting to see that.

“Wherever you’re at in your journey, we will meet you there and walk it with you,” he said.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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