St. John’s Enters Management Agreement With Youth Services System
WHEELING, W.VA. — Nov. 18, 2019 — St. John’s Home for Children has entered into a management agreement with Youth Services System Inc. (YSS).
St. John’s and YSS inked the contract following the October retirements of St. John’s executive director Terry McCormick, who served St. John’s for 30 years, and assistant director Kenny Fisher, who served for 35 years.
“St. John’s is incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with an organization like Youth Services System Inc. Their experience and skill in providing residential and other community-based social services is second to none,” said Jeffery Kaiser, president, St. John’s board of directors.
“St. John’s Home for Children has been serving the community and the state for 163 years. Its historic tradition and record of excellence in treatment are well known. We are pleased to partner with them and serve as a bridge to keep that record intact,” YSS CEO John Moses said.
St. John’s board of directors has appointed Jason Melegari, YSS director of operations, as interim executive director of St. John’s. Melegari will continue his role at YSS and handle the day-to-day operations of St. John’s residential facility.
Said Melegari: “Under the close guidance of the St. John’s board of directors, I intend the St. John’s tradition of excellence to continue in an uninterrupted fashion. We will ensure that our care includes the best treatment in the evidence base.”
Melegari is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in health administration. He has an extensive background in inpatient behavioral health and has served as a consultant for hospitals nationwide as well as functioning in interim executive roles during times of need.
The St. John’s board also appointed Larissa Graham, a residential manager at YSS, as interim assistant director. Graham has experience managing a Level II residential treatment facility like St. John’s and has an impressive background in treating populations that are underserved and have substance use disorders.
In addition to these executive roles, YSS will provide administrative support in the areas of human resources, finance and development to continue to ensure quality care for the vulnerable youth at St. John’s Home for Children. Meanwhile, the St. John’s board will keep abreast of impending state and federal regulations and conduct a complete a thorough search for a new executive director and assistant executive director.
“St. John’s will still be a separate, autonomous organization and all significant decisions will still require the approval of St. John’s board of directors,” Kaiser said.
Older than the state, St. John’s has been home to thousands of boys and girls over the past century and a half. For decades it was an orphanage where the children were cared for by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Today, St. John's Home for Children is an accredited licensed residential program that serves boys ages 6 to 12 with behavioral or emotional difficulties, and/or are victims of abuse and neglect.
YSS was founded in 1974 and offers a network of services with the mission “to create better futures for children, families and our community.” It opened the state’s first emergency shelter for boys in 1975, the first transitional living program for youth aging out of foster care in 1981 and the first emergency shelter for girls in 1983. Last week, the agency was notified it received a three-year accreditation from CARF International, a nonprofit accreditor of health and human services.
About St. John’s Home for Children
In 1856, Bishop Richard V. Whelan, the first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, brought three orphans to the Sisters of St. Joseph for care. This small step marked the cornerstone of the 163-year history of St. John’s and St. Vincent’s Home in Wheeling. The boys are cared for in a home-like environment with a “holistic” approach of healing their minds, bodies, and spirits. The goal of St. John’s Home for Children is to return the child to his family and community. Situations in which family re-unification is not possible (parental rights have been terminated) result in St. John’s Home for Children advocating for the least restrictive environment possible for the child such as other family members, adoptive homes, or foster care.
About Youth Services System, Inc.
Youth Services System Inc. is committed to responding to the complex needs of youth at serious risk. For 45 years, Youth Services System, Inc. has reached thousands of youth and their families with our shelter, residential, community-based and professional services. Together with youth and their families, we work to improve their physical and emotional well-being, to address the debilitating effects of abuse, addiction, and trauma, and to build the skills and connections they need to be successful. Supported by our volunteer Board of Directors, dedicated staff, and faithful community support, Youth Services System, Inc. makes an impact in the lives of youth. For more information, visit www.youthservicessystem.org.