Youth & Family Services is a 501(c)3 private, non-profit, community based charitable organization; formed in 1974 to meet a critical community need for emergency shelter for children and youth. Prior to this, children and youth needing temporary care were sometimes taken to the county jail, simply because there was no other location available to provide temporary housing.
We have been providing hope for children with broken hearts for almost 45 years. Our humble beginning began in downtown El Reno. The need was great and the emergency shelter filled up quickly. YFS relocated into the only space available, an abandoned nursing home. During these days, our minds were focused not only on caring for children but on our significant needs for better facilities. Although small, our Shelter was a safe place that provided children with security and hope, mending their physical and emotional wounds. YFS continued to grow to meet the needs of the community, adding program after program.
Over time, we have seen a slow and gradual growth in YFS, until recently. No where in the history of our community service, have we seen the kind of explosive growth that we are now experiencing. The pivotal event to this growth was the occupation of the Donald W. Reynolds Caring Center in 2007. Work on the Donald W. Reynolds Caring Center began in 2002 when YFS was awarded a grant for a brand new facility. This new facility has transformed our agency. The Caring Center consists of two buildings, a family services center and an emergency shelter. YFS now has the most stable base for services that we have had in our history. At this time of economic crisis while nonprofits come and go, Youth & Family Services is now the largest social services non profit in our community.
Today YFS has over 10 programs serving Canadian, Blaine, Kingfisher and Oklahoma counties as well as other surrounding counties. In addition, to our emergency youth shelter, programs include: counseling, school consultation, Youth GED/educational services, mentoring, tutoring, independent living, youth employment services, parent training courses, drug and alcohol education and first-offender programs. The programs available through Youth & Family Services are here to serve the community providing care, facilitating hope and mending broken lives.
More than 2,600 individuals receive help from Youth & Family Services annually. With the number of juvenile crime arrests and confirmed child abuse cases rising in Oklahoma, the need for counseling and shelter services is growing. Divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and school dropout are all problems that affect youth and families daily.