Merger brings more services to central Iowa’s youth


JOHNSTON, Iowa — Just last week two local organizations, Youth Homes of Mid America (YHMA) and Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) announced their new branding and expanded services after officially merging back in August.

YHMA and YESS merged and became Ellipsis due to increased demand for both mental health and shelter services in the community, said CEO, Chris Koepplin.

“Obviously kids and families have greater needs than we’ve seen in a really long time, and our two agencies have always worked together kind of simultaneously across paths, ” Koepplin said. “Our staff have worked collaboratively as we work with kids and families. and it seemed to be really clear that our missions were nearly the same.”

The merger will benefit families, the state of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and Juvenile Court Services. 

With more than 750 kids and families already impacted by these organizations everyday, leaders and employees say the potential impact of the merger will be huge.

Jon Bennum, a past student at both organizations, and now an employee knows just how much this will mean to the community.

“I hear a lot of talk about like, YESS and then youth homes. Well, now we’re all like one big organization so we have more beds we’re gonna get more children and families we can, you know, put our name out there more. We got more beds, we got more staff that are willing to help you. More therapists, stuff like that,” said Bennum.

The particular services that Ellipsis offers to children of all ages and their family members are: prevention and diversion programs, behavioral health support and aftercare, and residential care programs. And you can find links to their new website here for more information.

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