To heal children, strengthen families and build community.
To improve our community by providing children, adults, and families with high-quality, trauma-informed behavioral health services and support systems.
CHRIS is an acronym that stands for our core values: Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety.
CHRIS 180 has been at the forefront of behavioral health and child welfare service delivery since 1981 when the organization was first established as Georgia CHARLEE (Children Have All Rights-Legal, Educational, and Emotional) to fill a gap in services for children and youth with behavioral and emotional challenges who were not thriving in foster homes and needed small specialized group homes. In 1986, the organization recognized another gap in services and created Georgia’s first independent living program to help youth aging out of foster care. Then in 1992, Georgia CHARLEE became CHRIS Homes representing the core values of Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety.
In 2000 CHRIS 180 responded to another gap in services and opened the first program in the Southeast to serve homeless youth with targeted outreach to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ+) youth, who are disproportionately homeless. Since then, the organization has become an acknowledged subject matter expert in helping and working with LGBTQ+ youth.
In 2004, the organization was renamed CHRIS Kids to better indicate the growing scope of services as the organization continued to identify and fill gaps in services, focusing on healing, prevention of homelessness and strengthening families. In 2007, the CHRIS Counseling Center was opened to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment services for the community at large and undertook specialized training in trauma, substance abuse treatment and play therapy. In 2010, the CHRIS Training Institute opened to train other industry professionals and organizations seeking quality training opportunities; in 2014 Trauma STARs, a specialized training to assist the human service workforce, educators, police, and others identify, understand, and respond effectively to traumatized children and adults, was developed.
In order to expand and better meet the need for housing and counseling for youth, in 2010 CHRIS 180 opened Summit Trail, an EarthCraft Certified apartment complex. Summit Trail provides permanent supportive housing for single and parenting youth, ages 17 – 24, and combines CHRIS 180’s programs for homeless youth and its independent living program for youth aging out of foster care. In 2011, the CHRIS Counseling Center expanded, moving locations to East Atlanta, next to Summit Trail Apartments.
CHRIS Kids became CHRIS 180 in 2016, to better reflect the fact that, at its core, CHRIS 180 is a behavioral health organization that is committed to addressing the social determinants of health to better help individuals, children and adults heal and be able to change directions and change their lives.
CHRIS 180 helps children, young adults, and families through mental health counseling at the CHRIS Counseling Center; group homes for abused and neglected children in foster care; adoption services; a Drop-In Center for homeless young adults; permanent supportive housing program for single and parenting youth, ages 17-24, who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system; in-home programs; and re-entry programs that work to strengthen families. CHRIS 180’s holistic approach enables children, youth and families to change the direction of their lives and become self-sufficient, contributing adults despite challenging circumstances.
With the goal of expanding impact, training is provided, not only for CHRIS 180 staff, but also for the broader community through the CHRIS Training Institute, with a focus on trauma-informed care, best clinical practices and effective prevention.
Programs and services are supported by a commitment to excellence in governance and management; investments in people, facilities, and technology; and engagement with the community.
While programs and services, and even our name, has changed, our mission has not: to heal children, strengthen families and build community.