the establishment of the YES Home in 1981, there was
nowhere for parental neglected children to be placed,
except for jail. Children who had committed no crime
were being punished. While in jail, there was no home
life, no school, and they could be thrown in with juvenile
delinquents or other offenders. The federal government
realized a difference between delinquents and status
Encouragement Services (YES) is an alternative to placing
juveniles in jail. Serving five counties, Dearborn,
Ohio, Switzerland, Ripley and Franklin, the YES Home
provides family home-type settings for teenagers as
an alternative to institutionalization.
plans for the YES Home began its program with one home,
serving ten children, with a professionally trained
couple as house parents.
who live at the home attend local schools and use local
recreational facilities to avoid removing them from
their own environment.
group home is for youths who for some reason should
not remain in their own homes, but who are of an age
when it is difficult to find regular foster homes. The
children receive help for disabilities that have made
it difficult to adjust in their community, such as psychological
scars left by the breaking up of homes or other difficulties
encountered through actions of a child's parents. Most
of the children are referred to the YES Home from the
Home was incorporated in 1978 after two other agencies
which had set out to aid juvenile status offenders had
persons in Southeastern Indiana had been interested
in providing some type of alternative placement for
juvenile status offenders, abused children and others
instead of placing them in county jails or Boys and
attempts were made to purchase property for use as a
shelter home, juvenile treatment center, but attempts
proved futile for one reason or another.
YES decided it was better to just work in Dearborn County,
rather than to try to encompass the five county area,
and that expansion could come later if necessary. YES
members also decided it was impossible to provide a
sheltered care center and juvenile treatment facilities
at the same time.
original directors of YES Home were James Wismann,
Helen Conrad, Frederick Becktold, Betty McLaughlin,
Mary McElfrish, Lyndall Breeden, Monica Connolly,
Georgia Krider, Ruth Heist, Barbara Helfrich, and
Pamela, Betsy and Harry Zerbe.
members originally proposed to construct a new building
for a sheltered care center, and the cost of the new
building was estimated at over $100,000. Since funds
were short, YES discarded the new building idea. When
the request was made for five acres of county land,
Dearborn County Council became aware of YES's purposes
and goals, and asked the organization to consider
using part of the county home for the sheltered care
began to take a serious look at the county home, and
found it needing renovations. With very little money
and time running short, YES members went back to county
commissioners and council and asked for assistance
with the project.
the time YES decided to use the county home, the board
of directors had changed. Officers were also elected
in 1980. They were: Betty McLaughlin, president; Pat
Krider, vice president; Stan Kess, secretary; and
James Wismann, treasurer.
resident's length of stay will vary from one day to
6 months to a year. The average length of stay is
one school semester.
the home was operational, the goal was that the shelter
home not be a burden on taxpayers. They hoped to maintain
the operation through donations, membership drives,
money paid through the court for the care of the juveniles,
and through other fundraising projects.
home originally operated in the 25 rooms on the first
floor of the old county home on County Farm Road.
YES Home received a federal grant to conduct a study
on whether it should renovate it's existing building,
or construction and a new housing facility. At this
time, the existing house needed much exterior and
interior renovations and maintenance. In 1998, it
was decided that the YES Home would pursue a grant
to renovate the century-old structure.
YES Home found itself in the midst of a $1 million
face lift, thanks to grants from the county and charitable
foundations. The renovations included heating, ventilation
and air conditioning systems, electrical, plumbing,
interior walls, ceiling, floors, woodwork, exterior
windows, interior doors, elevator, new staircase,
demolition and other associated work. The historical
appearance of the building was kept in tact throughout
several years of renovation, the YES Home unveiled
its new look to the public at an open house on Sunday,
May 4 of 2003.
improvements at the sprawling 18,000 square foot center
included a major restoration of the upstairs into
a comfortable and attractive living area to accommodate
the children housed there.
are separate wings for boys and girls. Some bedrooms
house only one youngster, while others are shared
by two persons.
YES Home residents reach the upstairs by an elevator
that has been installed on the north end near the
back entrance to the building.
new living area is also accessible via three new stairways.
One narrow interior stairway was left for historic
improvements include tuck pointing for the entire
exterior, a new roof, box gutters, new windows on
the second floor and modern new wood trim doors and
fixtures have been installed throughout the living
fire and safety codes have been brought up to date
as well and a new hot water heating system was installed
to replace an aging steam boiler heating plant.
Home director Cathy Piché and her husband,
Philip, were the original house parents during the
first seven years the home was in operation.
left the program for a while, and she returned to
manage the facility in 1994 and has been there ever
the home is governed by a board of directors, Andrea Marine, President, and Michael
board members: Jim Wismann, whose father was a YES
Home founder, E.G., McLaughlin, whose mother, Elizabeth
McLaughlin was a YES Home founder; Stephen Mendell,
Elizabeth Morris, Stephen Johnson,
Janet Platt, and Beverly Ester.