Next Step

Next Step provides shelter care for youth, ages 12-17, who are without a home or a stable living environment. Residents may be runaway youth or children placed by the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS placements may be youth who have been removed from their homes during investigations of abuse and/or neglect, or those who are awaiting a foster care placement. Next Step Youth Shelter residents attend their home schools whenever possible. They participate in meal preparation and household chores. Life skills education is offered based on an individual assessment of each resident. Individual and/or group counseling is provided as appropriate as well as opportunities for recreation. Next Step also offers semi-independent living in apartment and group living settings. The program serves youth, ages 16-21, who will be exiting the foster care system. Its emphasis is preparation for living independently. Life skills—budgeting, cleaning, cooking, relationship building, conflict management—are at the heart of the program. Completing high school and moving on to college is the path taken by some participants, while others seek employment education. Individual counseling as well as alcohol and drug treatment are available when needed. Case managers provide support and encouragement to youth as they seek to remove barriers and acquire the skills to live independently.

For more information, contact Mark Brauer, Vice President of Youth Services, at 216.696.0370 or