The services of Youth in Need were spurred by treatment of a runaway teen, on the street after a beating at home, who was taken to a jail with adult criminals. Establishment of an emergency shelter was the response. Since 1974, Youth in Need has dedicated itself to building positive futures for the community’s most vulnerable children, teens and families.

Today, more than 400 full- and part-time staff serve more than 12,000 of the area's most vulnerable children, teens and families at nearly 100 locations in six counties in eastern Missouri. Emphasis is placed on aiding youth and their families in crisis by finding safe, nurturing homes while they complete their education, learn independent living skills, secure employment and become self-sufficient.

The scope of its services include emergency food, clothing and referral support to homeless youth on the streets.

Safe Place is a network of youth-friendly businesses which offer children and teens a safe place to go when they experience a crisis. Youth in Need's prevention and family-strengthening programs begin with preschool and follow through both school-based and beyond them into the community with counseling, support groups and positive youth development programs.

Its mission of building on the strengths of children, youth and families stems from “believing in the power of potential,” so they find safety, hope and success in life. The organization's long-committed staff helps provide stability and examples of care and success.