Contact Us

Division of Youth Services
3418 Knipp, Suite A-1 
P.O. Box 447
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0447

(573) 751-3324

(573) 526-4494

Web page:


After a recent escape by 13 teens from a Nashville, TN youth detention facility, authorities are investigating what led up to the break out and following riots.

NPR featured a story by Nashville affiliate WPLN on the recent incidents. Advocates are pointing to Missouri as an exemplary model of youth rehabilitation.

Listen to the story

Inside the approach

The Missouri approach is more than a program model.  While structural changes such as small programs close to home, family-like groups, and least restrictive environments have been vehicles for change, the organizational culture has clearly fueled the change.  The culture is like a healthy tree that has roots that run deep and wide.  You can see it in the faces of young people.

The Missouri approach to juvenile justice emphasizes moving beyond symptoms to the root causes of juvenile delinquency so that changes made by young people are long-lasting, preparing them to return and contribute positively to their school, home, and community.  Our broad-based approach works with the entire family and engages the community through active community liaison councils and partners.

Rather than a traditional correctional model, DYS utilizes a therapeutic youth development approach focused on prevention and early intervention for young people at the front-end of the system, balanced by a comprehensive and fully integrated treatment approach for youth who have progressed in the system and are at greatest risk of reoffending.

The ultimate goal of DYS is to strengthen and increase the safety of Missouri communities by supporting young people in becoming law-abiding and productive citizens who lead fulfilling lives.