The Nurturing Education and Skills Training Program (NEST) provides transitional housing for young (18-25) pregnant or parenting families and their children for 15 months. During this time, families work with a 3-person team (Program Supervisor, Home Specialist, Child Development Specialist) in a youth-driven process to reduce risk factors and increase self-sufficiency. 

The overarching goal is to increase family’s reliance on their self-identified natural support systems, provide housing that will give them the stability to begin working on their independent goals, and break the cycle of poverty for their children thus providing long-term sustainable change that will impact consumers as well as the community for years to come. 

The Nest improves health and well-being through the evidence-based practice of providing housing in tandem with wraparound services. This program increases/maintains the safety of families, increases the well-being of children and families by creating protective factors, and improves family self-sufficiency by developing health problem-solving skills. The NEST engages participants through an individualized and client-driven approach that emphasizes family involvement and natural, community-based supports. 

The NEST’s programming is designed to meet the unique needs of the Transitional Age Youth (TAY) population and their families by utilizing the “family voice and choice” approach.  Family and youth/child perspectives are intentionally elicited and prioritized throughout their engagement in the program. Planning is grounded in family members’ perspectives and recorded in their personalized independent transitional living plans.

Programming and services at the NEST are designed to empower youth through building social connections, increasing education, reducing stigma and discrimination, by promoting accountability and increasing self-determination. A significant number of youths who enter into the program are basic-skills deficient and have minimal knowledge of resources and services available to meet their needs. The NEST hosts a variety of formal workshops and informal support groups that build resilience and promote wellness in a collaborative and social environment. Groups and workshops are facilitated in-house and within their community. All NEST youth are connected to the local Peer Support Centers and partnering agencies that perform a variety of services to promote permanency, safety and child and family wellbeing.