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Bridges Impact Report Released: Participants Met with Tremendous Success During the Pandemic

The Child and Family Health Collaborative, (CFHCO) a subsidiary of the Ohio Children’s Alliance, is proud to announce the release of the Bridges Program 2022 Impact Report.

This report details how the power of perseverance and commitment, displayed by the combined efforts of our participants and staff, resulted in young adults achieving high levels of success during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since February 2018, the Ohio Bridges Program has been serving young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 who emancipated from foster care. In order to help young adults achieve success in adulthood, the program focuses on providing resources and support on four main pillars: housing, employment, education, and well-being. In another year of unprecedented challenge, Bridges continued to reach new heights in 2021.

The significant challenges that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already-numerous hurdles our youth, their communities, and our staff faced on a daily basis. Despite the additional hardships, the Bridges program served a record number of young adults and provided them with the support needed to be successful.

As a result of COVID relief legislation, 312 young adults who exited Bridges were able to re-enroll, and another 640 participants continued past their 21st birthday. This culminated in a 70% increase in participant length of stay in the program over the previous year.

With the help of Bridges service teams, all of these young adults were able to work on their goals like finding and maintaining employment, pursuing educational endeavors, maintaining safe/affordable housing, and taking steps to improve their well-being.

Well-being is an area where participants excelled. 93% of Bridges participants reported feeling secure in having their basic food needs met, 87% reported stability in their mental health, and 94% reported having health care coverage that was satisfactory and affordable.

“The positive outcomes achieved in the Bridges Program demonstrate the strength of Ohio’s young adults to overcome adversity. We are grateful to be a part of their support system and are excited to see what the future holds for the program and for former foster youth,” said Mark Mecum, Ohio Children’s Alliance and CFHCO CEO. “We also thank the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Governor’s Office for their sincere partnership in this endeavor.”

The Ohio Bridges Program is a voluntary program available to young adults who left foster care in Ohio at ages 18, 19, or 20 and who are in school, working, participating in an employment program, or have a medical condition that prevents them from going to school or working. The program provides guidance and support as they transition to adulthood. To learn more or to apply, click here or contact Geoff Hollenbach, Bridges Program Administrator, with any questions.


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