YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This week, WKBN 27 First News Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford talks with Marci Consiglio and Laurie Manteghi with Moab House.

The organization works as a transitional house for foster youth who are aging out of the foster care system from ages 18 to 21.

Since 2019, it began as a vision that the Lord dropped in my heart about something that I was going to be doing with this house. And recently, it finally became a reality. September 1 we will be moving into our home,” Consiglio said.

Children service experts agree many 18-year-olds are not ready to be o their own. Those numbers may be higher in the foster care system.

“I know when the kids are 18, they want to be on their own, but what we’re finding is that they’re struggling to find those places to be on their own. You know, the apartments. They’re not quite ready for an apartment. They don’t have credit established yet. So, we want to be able to work with them to model our home like a home with a mom and a dad that is there to help them.

That support can come with a continued academic endeavor such as college or trade school and also skills needed to build credit and create a financial foundation. It also helps clients to obtain a driver’s license.

Youth are referred to Moab House by entities such as Cadence Care’s Bridges Program.

“When these young adults are out, they go into the Bridges Progam. That helps with stipends so they can live off that money. In Turn, they are working or they’re going to school a certain amount of hours, or they may have developmental disabilities,” Consiglio said. “We’ve also been in contact with Mahoning County and Trumbull County Children Services.”

When the house parents agree that the young adult is ready to venture out on their own, they are given approval that can be relayed to landlords, employers or anyone else.

“The young adults have completed being in his transitional program, and we, the adults, have been around them for however long and we feel that they are ready,” Consiglio said.

Moab House has three pillars: Safe, Loving and Productive. It works to keep the young adults safe and out of the hands of traffickers.

“Foster kids are the most trafficked population, so we need to make sure that they’re safe. Safe from abuse. Safe from drugs. All of these things and loved. This is exactly why we are planting house parents in the home. They will be there full-time, all the time, and their job will be to lovingly walk next to these young adults so that they can feel loved, not barked at, and not told what to do. They are adults, now, so we are going to walk next to them,” Consiglio said.