16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Sarah M. Thomas-Nededog
Sanctuary, Incorporated opened its doors—and the first emergency shelter for youth—in November 1971. Now, some 35 years and 25,000 clients later, Sanctuary continues to assure quality youth services to this island community, providing shelter, services, and support to adolescents—Guam's most difficult age group to place.
In collaboration with Child Protective Services, Sanctuary provides the home away from home for abused and neglected youth. Additionally, it offers a Transitional Living Program, a service for those youth who, for various reasons, do not have the option of returning home or who are aging out of the foster care system. All too often, these young people move between several foster and relative homes until they have exhausted all possible alternative placements. Many of these youth are unprepared for independence and the responsibility accompanying adulthood. Sanctuary teaches life skills to these youth to assist toward independent living. Other available services include anger management and self-esteem workshops and drug and alcohol abuse support groups.
Working with Child Protective Services, Sanctuary contributes to the case management of these youth by participating in case planning, transporting, and the provision of services required, as well as by attending court proceedings. The existence of Sanctuary contributes significantly to improving the quality of life of Guam's vulnerable adolescents whose history records a background of abuse and neglect.
As Executive Director of Sanctuary since 2003, Sarah M. Thomas-Nededog has increased the organization's receipt of local government contracts, direct Federal funding, and private donations from $300,000 to $500,000. Additional significant accomplishments include developing the first and only residential substance abuse treatment program for adolescents and reorganizing the Micronesian Youth Service Network.