Member Spotlight: Youth Advocate Services

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Spotlight by Sarah Cochey, CEO of Youth Advocate Services 

Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
YAS provides both Traditional and Therapeutic Foster Care services in and around the central Ohio region, with over 75 Foster Homes in our network. As the oldest Therapeutic Foster Care program in Ohio, YAS has provided high-quality treatment foster care since 1978. Our team works collaboratively with other child serving agencies to develop and implement a strong community support system for families. Currently, YAS serves and supports foster children in 14 Ohio counties.

YAS provides Early Childhood services through two community based programs, Early Intervention and Help Me Grow Home Visiting. YAS’ Early Intervention Program serves children birth to age three with developmental delays and provides service coordination in collaboration with ongoing early intervention services provided by Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. YAS’ Help Me Grow Home Visiting Program targets first time parents and children prenatal to age 3. We provide parenting education, resource linkage and ongoing support through the Healthy Families America Evidence Based Home Visiting Model and use of the Parents As Teachers Evidence Based Curriculum.

YAS provides community based Mental Health services to adults and children in Franklin County. These services are delivered by licensed clinicians in outpatient settings, including natural environments such as home, school and community. We currently collaborate with or have a presence in over 120 Franklin County schools. The overarching philosophy of YAS’ Community Based Mental Health Program is to promote the recovery and resiliency of persons with behavioral challenges or mental health issues through prevention, education, and support services. The goal is to assist the client in developing skills that promote socially appropriate functioning in family, community, and academic settings, following the recovery model of healing. Funded by the individual’s Medicaid Health Plan, YAS provides an array of services and interventions.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
Mission: To support children, youth and families to realize their potential, hopes and dreams.

Vision: In order to improve every life we serve, Youth Advocate Services dedicates itself to a culture that puts customer service and quality care above all else.

Values: We believe…

-In family.

All children have the right to be in a safe, secure family centered environment.

-Sound, culturally competent, clinically relevant services should be available and easily accessible to all children and families.

-Short term interventions we provide should focus on promotion of health, wellness and self-sufficiency of families.

-It is important to only use placement as a form of treatment for children and families.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
Networking and increasing our presence in the community. We are a small organization and want to utilize everything available to us make connections and share our service array so that we can reach more children and families that may benefit from our services.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
We participate in committee meetings, conferences and professional development opportunities offered by the many different entities that we partner and contract with. In particular, we strive to stay connected with the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies (OACCA) and The Ohio Council to stay informed on the latest program and industry changes impacting our field here in Ohio.

What is your company culture like?
We’ve worked hard to establish a culture that is positive, supportive and flexible in a way that employees feel valued yet also challenged. We strive to offer professional development, supervision and an environment in which staff can use their individual work styles. Our goal is always to let each employee utilize their unique talents and skills in a way that achieves job satisfaction and quality outcomes for our clients at the same time.


What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
Commitment, passion and work ethic are key components to being successful at YAS. We always strive to provide the best service possible which requires a strong commitment and passion for what we do as well as for the children and families that we serve. Our work is not without its challenges, but I believe that staff would state that they feel successful when they work hard and can see results in the work that they are doing. Even if the progress they see is minimal, they are making a difference and sometimes the littlest step forward is the most meaningful!

What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
Columbus has so much to offer! The rich history along with the established businesses and organizations provide such a great foundation for the growth that is happening here. Columbus is an attractive place to live and work which helps when we are seeking new employees. People want to be in Columbus and when they like where they live, they invest in their community. Being an organization whose mission is to serve those in the community, this is a great match.

What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
Set goals and constantly evaluate where you are on the path to achieving them. Take any opportunity for growth and exposure to new experiences that is offered to you so that you can continually add to your skill set. Most importantly, remember why you started this work in the first place. It all goes back to the children and families that we serve, they are what drives us and whose lives we strive to support and enrich.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?
It’s important to set boundaries and make sure to take time for yourself outside of work. I think it’s important to love what you do and do what you love. When you can truly say this it makes all aspects of life better and makes the balance easier to achieve!

Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
Our out of office meetings typically take place at other offices, mostly those of our collaborative partner agencies.

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