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Group of people enjoying a campfire in the mountains of New YorkGroup of people enjoying a campfire in the mountains of New York

At-risk youth services programs at Citizen Advocates are available to youth of all ages who are exhibiting behavioral and/or emotional problems of varying degrees. This can include recent mood or behavior that impacts relationships at home with family, or prevents the youth from engaging in school activities. Our at-risk youth care team will work with the youth and their families to help them set and meet goals. We also provide the tools and resources needed to manage day-to-day activities.

The Mentors Forward program

The Mentors Forward program is a collaboration between the Franklin County Department of Social Services and Citizen Advocates. This program is divided into two separate services; youth mentoring ages 6 – 21 and parent mentoring (for parents with intensive needs around navigating the foster care system, or are at risk of their children being placed in the care and custody of social services).

These youth mentoring services are provided to youth and families who are actively involved with the Franklin County Department of Social Services. Mentors Forward and Franklin County Department of Social Services caseworkers work together to use the strengths of the youth and families to build and develop skills that will assist them in their everyday lives. 

Some of the skills include:

  • maintaining regular school attendance
  • attending appointments
  • building confidence in social settings
  • appropriate parenting and supervision
  • Self-care
  • money management 
  • connecting to community resources.

If you or someone you know are involved with the Franklin County Department of Social Services and would benefit from our family counseling services, you can make a recommendation to your caseworker and they will complete the appropriate referral and submit it to the Mentors Forward program. 

Melissa Rundall Team Lead Phone:518-481-8240 Fax:518-481-5289

Enhanced Mentor program

We connect children from the Saranac Lake area and the southern end of Franklin County to kind, caring adult volunteers. Our goal is to promote academic success, healthy behaviors, self-esteem, and positive choices. We envision a community where every child experiences a one-to-one, nurturing relationship and develops to their full potential. 

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 10am-6pm

Enhanced Mentor Coordinator Phone:518-891-2510 Fax:518-891-2621 Location:70 Edgewood Road, Saranac Lake NY 12983

After-School program

This specialized program within the Enhanced Mentor program focuses on at-risk youth ages 5-12 years old within the Saranac Lake School District. The After-School program provides students with educational, recreational, and social activities beyond the regular school day. 

What you can expect:

  • Time is set aside each day to provide students with homework help or to just talk about their day. 
  • A healthy snack is provided daily.
  • Time is spent on fun activities, such as playground time, swimming, fishing, bowling, art projects or other interest-driven activities. While the activities are fun, they are also an opportunity for students to work together, problem solve and learn how to take individual responsibility for behaviors and actions. 
  • Participation in activities is just like at school, where students are expected to contribute, but more importantly, to have fun!

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3:15pm – 5:15pm (follows the academic year schedule)

Summer Youth program

The Summer Youth program, an extension of the After-School program, mixes fun activities with opportunities for youth to work on interpersonal skills and problem solving. Additionally, there is an added focus on community activities and outreach. The program is for eligible children in southern Franklin County.

Hours: Monday – Thursday, July & August (hours vary pending planned activities)

Wrap-Around services

Wrap-Around services are intensive person-centered planning and support services. In most cases, this is a collaborative effort between a care team and a client. The team, which provides a range of services and support, meets with the youth and their family. Then, depending on each individual, develops a plan of action to address needs and goals.

The service is available to any youth or family looking for a supportive action plan designed to manage day-to-day activities.

Any youth or children aged 5+ are eligible for this service. Any child/family in need of an intervention action plan and who is willing to work with a team to identify goals and objectives can be referred for wrap-around.

How to apply:

The first step is completing a Franklin County Single Point of Access (SPOA) form.  The SPOA is a one-stop shop for a wide range of mental health services available locally.  This resource ensures the right service is connected to the right individual or family at the right time.  Once completed, the referral is returned to the individual listed in the application. 

To obtain a SPOA form, please e-mail

Melissa Rundall Team Lead Phone:518-481-8240 Fax:518-481-5289

Related services

Parent support services

Specialized support for parents if they are struggling with a child diagnosed with a behavioral health condition by focusing on strength-based solutions.

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Need help navigating our youth services?

At Citizen Advocates, we work as a team to provide the best individual, person-centered services to the people we serve. Care coordination assists clients with identifying and accessing the services that will assist them in addressing the problems they are experiencing, or that will help them to achieve a higher quality life or level of functioning.

go to care coordination »