For Paramedics, assisting and intervening during times of crisis is part of the job. For more than four decades, the men and women of St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] have expertly handled thousands of calls for all variety of medical emergencies, and as of this week, thanks to a partnership with Youth In Need, are equipped to assist area youth facing different types of challenges.
All 15 SCCAD stations and 32 advanced life support units have joined Youth In Need’s ‘Safe Place’ network. The program is designed to provide access to immediate help, safety and resources for young people facing issues such as abuse, neglect, homelessness and other challenges.
“Safe Place partners like SCCAD truly open doors for children and teens to get help in times of crisis,” said Pat Holterman-Hommes, Youth In Need’s President and CEO. “Previously, we did not have Safe Place sites in some of St. Charles County’s outlying areas, such as New Melle, Augusta, Defiance and Foristell. This partnership makes Safe Place accessible to all youth in our community.”
SCCAD Chief Taz Meyer recalls several instances of youth seeking help from Paramedics prior to the District becoming an official program partner. “It’s humbling to know that in times of crisis, young people in our community know they can turn to our Paramedics and Battalion Chiefs – by partnering with Youth In Need on the Safe Kids initiative, we’ll be able to better link those facing challenges with the services they need.”
With more than 850 points of entry in the region for youth to seek immediate help, Youth In Need is the largest Safe Place provider in the nation. In addition to SCCAD’s stations and ambulances, Safe Place sites include all Walgreens, QuikTrip and YMCA locations, as well as more than 300 Metro buses and trains. In 2015, a record number of young people accessed Safe Place help – 404 across Youth In Need’s Safe Place service area.
Youth in Need Safe Place Program Manager Karen Sieve with SCCAD Paramedic Greg Maddock