Episcopal Community Services provides safe homes and secure futures to about 2,000 people each year, with a focus on three areas:
- ECS FAST Housing
- ECS St. Barnabas Mission
- ECS Foster and Kinship
- Home Care for disabled seniors
- ECS Out of School Time
- Education at ECS St. Barnabas Mission
- ECS Teens Takin’ Over
ECS FAST Housing
ECS FAST Housing provides case management and permanent housing to more than 40 households in which a parent has a disability and a history of homelessness. Families live in rental units scattered throughout Philadelphia and receive services to help them succeed in independent living. ECS provides comprehensive and intensive case management, including weekly home visits, workshops and other family activities.
Primary funding for ECS FAST Housing is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, with additional funding from the ECS endowment, grants and annual giving. Housing is provided through a partnership with 1260 Housing Development Corporation.
ECS St. Barnabas Mission
ECS St. Barnabas Mission serves homeless women and their children, providing not only shelter but case management and related services to address the root causes of homelessness. Case management at the Mission helps families address economic and personal barriers to obtaining housing during a typical six-month stay.The Mission maintains high-quality service and meets the diverse needs of families presenting mental health, substance abuse, poverty and other challenges. Each year, about 140 female-headed families (including about 200 children) find a safe haven at ECS St. Barnabas. ECS St. Barnabas operates under a contract with the Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing, which provides all resident referrals.
Safety & Stability
ECS Foster/Kinship Care
Each year, ECS provides safe, caring homes to more than 125 children. When a child is placed into foster or kinship (with a family member) care, ECS’ goal is to achieve a permanent outcome for that child as quickly as possible. Sometimes that means working to solve the problems at home to allow for a safe reunification with a birth family. In other situations, adoption or another long-term custody arrangement is a better option. Either way, the best interests of the child and speed in achieving a permanent placement are top priorities.
Operating under a contract with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, the ECS Foster/Kinship Care program fills a vital need for children who have been adjudicated into out-of-home placements due to abuse, neglect, or a parent’s temporary inability to care for them. ECS is also one of a handful of agencies in the region to specialize in services for children with serious medical conditions and disabilities.
ECS Home Care for Seniors
The ECS Home Care Department provides quality services to elderly and disabled persons living in the Philadelphia area. One out of five seniors in Philadelphia lives in poverty, leaving long-term care at quality nursing homes out of reach. With the provision of homemaker, nursing and case management services, more than 100 clients experience greater quality of life and continue to live independently each year.
Home Care services are provided through Medicaid (Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging) funding or at pre-determined hourly rate. Contact the ECS intake coordinator at 215-351-1486 for more information.
ECS Out of School Time
The ECS Out of School Time (OST) program serves the diverse Feltonville section of Philadelphia, providing after-school and summer activities for children in elementary and middle school. The program fosters relationships with the local schools and the community to improve student participation and success.
Primary funding for Out of School Time is from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services through a utilization-based contract administered by Public Health Management Corporation. A 15% match from the ECS annual fund and endowment is required.
ECS St. Barnabas Mission Education
The Butterfly educational program at ECS St. Barnabas provides a nurturing educational space for all of the children and mothers at St. Barnabas to learn and play. Using a flexible, skills-based approach, the Butterfly engages mothers in parent-child activities and provides developmental opportunities for children of every age. Volunteers provide homework help to students. Students and parents have access to the Mission’s newly outfitted computer lab to learn technology skills, complete homework assignments and search for jobs. The education staff also works closely with parents and local schools to make sure children’s needs are met.
Teens Takin’ Over
The ECS Teen Program is an innovative, evidence-based program which provides resources, support, skills and knowledge to vulnerable youth in Philadelphia. The program provides services to youth who have experienced homelessness, foster care, and/or poverty. Operating on Saturdays and weeknights from September to June, the program is open to youth ages 14-23. Youth activities include: vocational assessments and career planning, cognitive behavioral skill-building and youth-led vocational projects. The ultimate goal of the program is to equip young people with the skills, resources and knowledge to make positive choices and successfully transition to adulthood and economic independence.
In 2012, the ECS Teen Program was awarded Honorable Mention Innovative Practices by the Council on Accreditation. The Innovative Practices Award is awarded to organizations that demonstrate the application of new and forward-looking practices that have raised the quality of services provided to vulnerable children and families, and are consistent with theory, practice wisdom, and expert consensus as reflected in the broader literature.
Watch the teens’ video project: