Focus on Youth was co-founded on February 5, 1992 by Cindy Skinner. The agency was certified by the state of Ohio in May of 1992. Cindy, having been a protective case worker with Hamilton County DJFS as well as an adoption worker, foster parent, and adoptive parent, was discouraged with the number of youth entering residential treatment. She felt children would do better if foster parents were trained to work with the unique needs of youth in care and educated to remain committed to the placement.
Involved in providing professional training to numerous child welfare agencies, including the Ohio Family Care Association, the National Foster Parent Association, various PCSA organizations, and day care centers, Cindy determined it was time to open Focus on Youth, Inc. as an agency committed to safety, stability, and permanency for youth in foster care. Committed to the well-being and treatment of children in Focus on Youth care, mental health services were added to our program in 1995. Focus on Youth added the adoption services function to its programs in 1996, as a natural extension of services to youth and families as well as to encourage and promote adoption of children in foster care. In 2013, Focus on Youth achieved status as a certified community mental health center, which gave Focus the ability to provide behavioral health services to children in the foster care program as well as children and families in the community. The Focus on Youth leadership team is always looking for new ways to expand services which will further help children and families.
After 23 years of leading Focus on Youth, Cindy Skinner retired and Bryan Forney took over as the Executive Director on June 5, 2015. Bryan has been with Focus on Youth since 2001, having previously served in positions as the Associate Executive Director, Training Coordinator, Supervisor, Therapist, and Youth Specialist. In those positions, Bryan was instrumental in helping the agency stay abreast of changes on the federal, state and local levels. He also has played a key role in recent changes at Focus on Youth, including: implementation of an electronic health records system; accreditation through the Council on Accreditation; becoming certified through ODMHAS, and many other changes. Additionally, Bryan has served in other organizations as a community-based therapist, Clinical Director, Residential Treatment Counselor, and for many years as a youth minister. Bryan’s passion for this work comes from his belief that God cares very deeply for the hurting and vulnerable. His passion for Focus on Youth comes from seeing God bless Focus with an amazing group of families and staff committed to providing hope, love and healing to children and families.
At this time, Focus on Youth has worked with more than 1600 youth. Our philosophy is simple: we believe that kids grow best in families, that kids need foster families who won't give up on them, and foster parents are key players in the success of youth in care. That is why we provide strong support, professional training, and effective treatment interventions for the foster parents of the children we serve.
The foster families of Focus on Youth are not only committed to the children but also to the high standards employed by the agency and exemplified by quality services. Foster families actively recruit friends and family to come on board as new foster parents and volunteers . . . friends and family members they know and trust who understand and value the high standards Focus on Youth delivers.