Ellipsis marks two years since our merger, and we have much to celebrate.

 Ellipsis' mission is to connect kids and families to successful futures. To do that, we also must continue to advance our organization. 

In the second year since Youth Homes of Mid-America and Youth Emergency Services and Shelter merged, we've made incredible strides not just ensuring success of the merger — a feat that we, our board and our community supporters never doubted — but in making real progress on our goals. We needed to live up to the promises we made when our storied institutions came together in 2021. 

I'm happy to look back at the last year with you and detail some of our highlights, but we are far from done. 

What was

We have been true to our mission as we offer kids and families a safe space to pause, regroup, heal and learn before they determine the next chapter in their story.

To do that, we know that we have to provide a full range of services that encompass both in-facility programs — like shelter and group care — and community-based supports like therapy. No matter how or why they enter our circle of support, the kids and families we serve likely need to access multiple services at once to reach their goals. 

We have known since our merger that our support network is unmatched. Our staff members are compassionate, tenacious, real and consistent. 

 Still, we knew we needed to expand programming to continue to serve central Iowa kids and families the way they need and deserve. 

What is

We’re pleased to continue to add programming that fills gaps in the services offered in central Iowa. Our respite program was born out of a gap we had identified.


 The Ellipsis respite program is a voluntary service that provides the help and rest period kids and families need when challenges seem too difficult to conquer. Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers and allows kids to have a safe space to recoup for 72 hours. Here are some scenarios in which a family may take advantage of respite. For instance, if a parent has to go to the hospital and has nowhere for their kids to stay or a guardian has to enter an adult shelter that does not accept kids, respite program ensures the kids have a safe space to stay without having to enter another longer-term program.

Residential renovations

We also began work on an incredible building renovation that not only improves our physical space, but it makes our supervised apartment living program more impactful.

 Once completed, the building on our south campus that houses our shelter and respite programs will also feature 12 efficiency apartments for youth ages 16 ½ to 21. This supervised apartment living program (SAL) is one of a kind in the state and will better serve youth as they look to transition into independence. Most supervised apartment living service providers have several youth share common spaces like a kitchen, living room and bathroom – the way we have been doing this the last several years. This style doesn’t help youth learn to live independently the way they will in a year or two when they move into their own space.

 We’re thrilled to better serve our youth and make the most of our existing building so youth in the SAL program can begin living in their own apartment later this year while still benefitting from the full support of our staff.

What’s next

We have set intentionally aggressive goals for the next year to both propel Ellipsis forward for our kids and families but also to fill gaps in services for youth in our community.

Girls Group Foster Care

We’re embarking on a new challenge, but one that is beyond worth the effort and is overdue for our community. Girls in central Iowa are underserved in the youth services arena.

Ellipsis, in partnership with City of Des Moines leadership and the Iowa Department of Health and Humans Services, is moving forward with plans to purchase and renovate an office building in Des Moines to create a shelter for girls ages 13 to 17 in group foster care. The facility is crucial for girls who are in group foster care, those aging out of the foster care system who need a safe place to stay and those who need shorter-term shelter.

We can’t thank our community, staff and board enough for all the support we’ve been given in the last two years. We equally look forward to partnering with you to reach our goals in the next year.

Chris Koepplin, Ellipsis CEO