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Youth & Family Services

Merrick Community Services’ Youth & Family Services offer a variety of programs to strengthen and promote healthy families and youth. Staff are skilled at working with young parents, single dads and moms and two parent families.

For more info, contact Gretchen Garman, Youth & Family Services Manager, ggarman@merrickcs.org, 651-771-9339

Case Management Family Services
We use a strength-based case management approach that includes teaching, coaching, modeling and advocacy. Through home-based services, the family worker and the family collaboratively work together to develop a case plan by setting goals that identify and build on the family’s’ strengths and support the growth of stronger family relationships.  At the core of this method of case management are empathy, understanding, concern, interest, congruence and compassion. All of the above components contribute to a respectful, professional relationship that is a critical component to family growth and achievement. Staff assists the parents in meeting their goals through support and advocacy.  Through information and referral staff connects the family with resources in their community that will address their immediate needs. It is the role of the family worker to teach individuals the skills needed to problem solve and search out and connect to needed resources.

Parenting Education, Groups, & Family Gatherings
Merrick Community Services offers a variety of parenting education classes, workshops and support groups for individuals dealing with domestic violence and other issues. Workshops include topics such as abusive relationships, communication, strengthening relationships, identity and leadership. One of the keys to healthy families is to have fun together. MCS offers the opportunity for families in the community to join other families at Family Fun Nights.

Youth Services
Youth Services Application Download (PDF)

Merrick Community Services is dedicated to providing a variety of youth services in a safe, healthy environment. Programs are designed to promote responsibility and respect for self, others and property, and are offered during after-school, evening hours, Saturdays and out of school time.   Our trained youth workers assist program participants in setting and achieving personal and team goals that may include improved school attendance and achievement, and improved relationships. Youth Services include:                                                                                                           

  • Leadership and Team building
  • Arts & Culture
  • East Side Student Engagement in Learning (ESSEL)
  • Field Trips 
  • Skills for Adolescents
  • Summer Youth Program
  • Tutoring & Homework Help


Youth Leadership Groups
The Girl’s and Boy’s Leadership Groups are for youth ages 13-16. They meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for four hours. These groups provide teens with an opportunity for growth in a positive environment. The youth learn to discover, strengthen, and enhance their self esteem; develop problem solving skills, communication, and leadership skills; improve or maintain their grades in school; and develop a commitment to community involvement. Participants must attend 80% of the meetings, participate in all activities, and perform sixty hours of community service throughout the year. Staff monitors the progress of each participant in the areas of education, community service, and attendance.

Teen Girls Outreach
In partnership with Open Cities Health Center, MCS provides outreach to pre-natal teens and teen moms to identify critical unaddressed needs such as pre-natal care, self-care, infant care and housing. Through a one-to-one relationship staff provides support, encouragement and resources. In 2010, MCS worked with twenty teens; seventeen of these teens were pregnant and three are teen parents. In addition to the support provided, nine expectant teens were referred to Healthy Start programs at the clinic most accessible to them; eight expectant teens, who were already receiving pre-natal care, were referred to a breast feeding class where they received free baby supplies upon completion; and three teen parents where assisted with needed baby supplies.