SafeKids Is Developing SafeHaven – a State-of-the-Art Training Center for Low-Income Youth

Franklin County Needs a SafeHaven

2-2817121145Imagine a place where young adults who grew up in extreme poverty or an unstable home can get a jump-start on the rest of their life.

A campus where they can live rent-free while gaining some of the valuable skills needed for our county’s economy.

A program that teaches in-demand trades and the “soft skills” necessary for a successful and productive life.

At SafeKids of Missouri, we recently acquired 130 developed acres in Dutzow (formerly known as Camp RockyVine). We have already begun transforming it into SafeHaven, a career training center for Franklin County’s underprivileged youth.

And we are currently raising $3.5 million to make this dream a reality.


A Fresh Start

We at SafeKids have a history of helping underprivileged teens in Franklin County.

Since 2013, we’ve established:

  • 300 SafeSpots—community businesses and institutions that receive kids in crisis.
  • Taylor’s House, a full-time respite care home to transition young people out of unsafe households.
  • HostFamilies who take in teens for extended periods of time, often to help them complete high school.
  • Other programs to assist young people in getting part-time work, money for necessities, and counseling.

Looking to the future, we’re developing SafeHaven, a campus where young adults can learn a vocation and live rent-free.


Acting as a waypoint after high school, SafeHaven will position these at-risk youth for full-time work and fully independent lives. They’ll have the opportunity to learn skills such as:

  • Construction.
  • Welding.
  • Agriculture.
  • Aquaponics (an ultra-modern self-sustaining farming system).
  • Livestock development.
  • Landscaping.
  • Business management.

As part of their training, they’ll have the opportunity to benefit from these skills immediately. They’ll be able to eat and sell the food they grow and live on the campus they care for. And some will even be able to build their very own high-tech shipping-container homes.

SafeHavenAdditionally, they’ll begin to learn the soft skills they need to survive in professional environments. They’ll learn how to:

  • Communicate effectively.
  • Make solid decisions.
  • Motivate themselves.
  • Lead others.
  • Solve problems.
  • Manage their time and money.

A Fresh Start

2-2817121182The SafeHaven campus is a fantastic facility. Though still in development, it already boasts residential and meeting spaces, a gymnasium, a pond, and other necessary features.

And just this year, SafeKids secured over $143,000 in funding to gain the full use of the SafeHaven campus. We’ve collected food for people in need, hosted training seminars, and started updating the grounds.

2-2817121181But the campus is not yet ready to receive students. We need equipment and funding to train our young people. We need to hire staff to turn SafeHaven into a self-sustaining resource for our youth and our community as a whole.

Over the next few years, our goal is to raise $3.5 million to invest in Franklin County.

You Can Help Build SafeHaven

There are many ways to help SafeKids build SafeHaven.
Let us present this opportunity to your church or community group.
Give a one-time gift in any amount.

Join our HopeClub, with monthly giving programs as little as $25 a month.

There’s a lot of work to do if we want to help underprivileged young adults in Franklin County. Consider how you might lend a hand today.

Go to to get started.


Why Support Us

The needs of families are dramatically different from what they were 50 years ago. Without support, without assistance, and with all the challenges of raising kids in today’s environment, some of these vulnerable families will fail. They will travel down a destructive path, a path of child abuse and/or neglect and mental illness. Their children will develop crippling behavioral and emotional problems. When they grow up they can become abusers themselves, perpetuating the problem for generations.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is a constructive path that starts with prevention, providing needed support to vulnerable families, includes community-based intervention when children and adults experience problems and offers out of home placement options for youth who have experienced significant trauma and must be provided a safer place to live.

Two paths, and the choice is ours.
Either we help children and families become constructive contributors, or we pay as they become a destructive burden. The good news is that the constructive path not only builds up our families and communities, it also costs less. Family & Children’s Center helps children and youth in our care learn coping skills for life. The success they experience carries into adulthood—thereby increasing their potential to be contributing citizens.

Most Needed Items

Most Needed Items for Family & Children’s Center

In-kind donations to Family & Children’s Center are extremely useful. These items are highly requested and help people served in our programs focus on treatment and achieve their goals. While we encourage brand new items, we accept gently used goods. When you donate in-kind, you’re helping FCC deliver quality services to people who need it most in our community.

Personal Hygiene Care Needs

Body Wash
Socks (Adult Sizes)

Out-Of-Home Care/Independent Living Needs

Laundry Baskets
Laundry Detergent
Pots & Pans
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper
Duffel Bags
Rubber Maid Totes (any size)
Garbage Cans
Mixing Bowls
Cooking Utensils
Shower Curtains
Alarm Clocks
Smoke Detectors
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Small Appliances (toaster, etc.)
Cleaning Supplies

Family & Infant Care Needs

Diapers (Sizes 0-5)
Diaper Cream
Diaper Genie Inserts
Outlet Covers
Cabinet Locks
9-Volt Batteries
Fire Extinguishers
C & D Batteries (for toys, swings, etc.)
Board Books
Baby Socks (Sizes 0-5)
Kids Socks (6 Months-3T)
Baby Food & Toddler Snacks (Puffs, Yogurt Bites, etc.)
Play Costumes & Accessories

Mental Health Care Needs

Fidget Toys—for Adults & Kids
Whiteboards (Personal Size) & Dry Erase Markers
Cush Balls
Art Supplies – Coloring Books (Children & Adult), Colored Pencils, Makers, Crayons, Construction Paper, Pipe Cleaners, Glue, Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Modeling Clay, Play-Doh, Beads
Yoga Mats & Yoga Balls
Crossword Puzzles/Word Finds/Sudoku

Kids & Teens Activities Needs

Children’s Chapter Books
Young Adult Novels & DVDs
Board Games
Art Supplies – Coloring Books (Children & Adult), Colored Pencils, Makers, Crayons, Construction Paper, Pipe Cleaners, Glue, Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Modeling Clay, Play-Doh, Beads

Gift Cards

Gift cards in any increment to be used for purchasing needed items that we don’t have on hand and to also be used for awards and rewards for clients and/or staff engagement.

Ideal places include: Fas-Trip, Walmart, Target, Foods Stores, etc.

Other items we accept

We take gently used clothing for babies to adults, shoes, baby equipment that is up-to-date and in excellent condition, household items.

We also take bicycles in excellent for transportation for children and adults. Tires must be in good condition/able stay inflated, no rust, seat must be in-tact.

Questions? Call 636-300-9000 x 812

How Can We Become a Host Home?

Becoming a SafeKids Host Family is a rewarding and wonderful experience. If opening your home to help a child in need and you’re interested in taking the next steps, take a look at our Host Family requirements below and get started.

SafeKids Host Family Guidelines

Host Family Criteria

All host families must:

  • Be able to support child(ren) during stay.
  • Be over the age of 25 and be emotionally stable, mature, and law abiding.
  • Not abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Refrain from profanity and other potentially damaging behavior.
  • Be sufficiently healthy and active in order to keep up with the demands of caring for a child.
  • Be involved or willing to work with a Safe Families for Children host church.

Host Family Duties

At SafeKids, the safety and well-being of children entrusted to our care is the highest priority. We ask that all SafeKids volunteer host families make a commitment to fulfill the following duties:

  • Maintain a safe, clean home.
  • Be able to meet the child’s health and safety needs and provide adequate supervision.
  • Provide a bed and personal care items, such as diapers, toiletries, etc.
  • Nurture the child and promote acceptance within the family, treating each child in the household with fairness.
  • Provide clothing items as needed (child will have with some clothing).
  • Provide transportation as needed to school, doctor appointments, etc.
  • Notify the Family Coach of any pending changes in status, such as a new address or phone number, a change in employment, or a change in the number of people living in your home.
  • Notify the Family Coach immediately of any medical, behavioral, or other emergencies.

Steps to Become a SafeKids Host Family

  1. Interest Form: Fill-out the online interest form to begin the process of becoming a host family. You will be connected to a local host church or social service agency who will send you an application for your region and support you as a host family.
  2. Home Visit: As soon as we receive your completed application, we will contact you to set up a time for a home visit. This visit gives us an opportunity to get acquainted and also allow our staff to visually confirm that your home is a safe place.
  3. Training: Training provides opportunities for personal growth that can help make your experience with SafeKids more rewarding for you, your family, and for the children who may come into your home. SafeKids training is available online and takes about four hours to complete. You will receive an e-mail with your username and password.
  4. Background Check/Fingerprinting: This varies from state-to-state. After submitting your application, someone from your local SafeKids office will contact you regarding background checks.
  5. Letters of Recommendation: It is our policy to recruit SafeKids volunteers whose lives reflect stable personal values and morals. Thus, volunteers need to provide three letters of reference from people who can attest to this aspect of their lives.
  6. Host Family Clearance: Once your clearance is complete, you will be contacted by your local SafeKids partner when there is a child and family that needs help.


Additional Information
We are so pleased to partner with you to serve and protect these young people. The students we serve are boys and girls ages 12-24 and are attending school or in the process of returning to the classroom.

Our Safe Families Program works with community members who are willing to open their homes to these homeless students. This handbook aims to answer your questions on how our program works, and how you as a community member can partner with us.


These youth that we serve are not your typical students, they come from many situations and varied degrees of brokenness. Most are used to relying only on themselves and it is hard to understand why strangers would care when their own flesh and blood may not. They are hungry and tired but will not ask for assistance because they are afraid to ask for too much or they won’t get anything. These students have been sleeping in the woods, in cars, or on friends couches or floors.  Even if they have been living inside on a couch they probably have not asked or received food, a shower, etc. These youth are resilient and still get up and go to school each day because they know education is their way out and the only thing they can control.



Anyone is eligible to be a host family as long as they have a bedroom available and the finances to be able to provide room and board for the student.  We have an extensive application process to protect the students and our Safe Families, but once you and the students complete this process, you can begin helping these students find hope.  If you are in a rental, please make sure that your landlord is in approval of your taking in a student.



All potential host families are required to fill out an application and will go through a comprehensive background check process.  The home is inspected for safety for the youth and an interview process commences.  Discussions about gun safety, alcohol storage, and prescription drugs will be included in the “In-Home” training that each host family receives from a trained staff member.  This process is extensive for the safety of the students as well as for our Safe Families who volunteer to help.



A host family can determine the age range and gender of the student they are willing to house.  Some homes already have biological children in them or they may consist of a single woman or man, with these considerations a student is placed in an appropriate home where everyone is comfortable and safe.



Host families may choose the length of stay they are willing to provide, but we ask that all host families be willing to house at a minimum of three to seven days.  This gives our students a chance to regroup after a usually traumatic separation from their current living situation.  Short term families are trained to be emergency placements with the understanding that these students will be transitioning into another more permanent situation.  These placements will happen without prior meeting of the student, but are guided by a trained staff member who will assist with the transition.  Host families who desire to be emergency placements will be well trained in the emotional and social aspects that these types of youth experience. Youth mental first aid and rights


These placements can last from 2 weeks to 2 years or even longer if you wish and are able.  We do ask for people to consider housing a student for the rest of their school year so that their education is not disrupted.  Our goal is always reconciliation between the students and their own families, but in some instances where there can not be any reconciliation, some Safe Families may wish to continue to care for the student even longer through their college years. That will be up to the students and your family if you wish to continue a students care.  Safe Families may quit the host family program whenever they desire, we just ask for a minimum of two weeks to locate a new home, unless there is a discipline issue, then the student will be removed immediately.



Most commonly the application process takes 2 weeks once the student is introduced. In the case of a crisis, the process can be rushed in 2 or 3 days.  If a host family is wanting to do emergency care, the “move in” time is immediate (see emergency care).   If you are wanting to be a long term host family, then you will go through a series of interviews.  First, in a public place where the student and host family can get to know each other where it is more comfortable, then, if both parties want to move forward, the student will meet the potential host family in their home.



Host families biggest concerns stem from the issue of liability.  Host families are required to provide SafeKids proof of both their homeowners and vehicle insurance.  Once a student steps over the host family’s threshold, they are considered a visitor of that home.  If anything should occur, the above insurance policies should cover the students. Students under the age of 18 living in a host family are still under the legal responsibility of their permanent guardian.  Host families are not permanent legal guardians. Students 18 and older are legally responsible for their actions and will be dealt with as adults.



Once the permanent guardian has signed the permission form, the host family is permitted to travel within the state.  If a host family desires to take that student on a trip outside of the state or country, another specific travel form needs to be filled out by the permanent legal guardian.  All students over 18 do not need this form.



Discipline is difficult with new host students because they have been on their own for so long that they are not used to checking in or even having anyone care how their day was.  There is a Safe Families discipline policy that is given each host family so that they can feel that they are not alone and backed up in situations of discipline.



Once a student is placed in a host family there are expectations on both sides about, chores, homework, curfew, etc.  Curfew tends to be the biggest issue for most host homes.  Students who have been on their own are not used to being home at a specific time and most do not have cell phones to even call.  SafeKids can provide a minute cell phone and minutes to aid in this issue, but it does take time and a lot of communication between all parties and a lot of patience for curfew to no longer be an issue.


All students are required to be in school or working toward returning to school in some fashion to remain in the host family program.  We know that some students have been out for some time due to illnesses or relocating, etc. so for these students it is tough to transition back.  Some students have learning struggles and need extra help.  SafeKids can assist with the school, provide tutoring, support a student and advocate for accommodations, etc.  Host families who have long term placements will slowly work into being additional school supports for their host students.



Transportation can be worked out quite easily through SafeKids partnership with the homeless liaisons in the school districts.  Students are guaranteed transportation to and from school.  Sports, jobs and after school events are not covered by the school transportation department. Safe Kids can help by providing rides to doctors appointments and other non-daily events.  Host families will have to work with the student and Safe Kids to cover any transportation issues that can’t be covered by any other agencies.



SafeKids partners with support groups and the school districts homeless liaisons to provide school supplies.  The McKinney-Vento act (the federal mandate supporting homeless youth) allows for student fees to be waived, such as sports fees, lab fees, etc.



SafeKids provides clothing of all kinds from pajamas and underwear to jeans and dresses plus toiletry items to host students to help eliminate these costs from the host family.  Formal attire for formal dances and interview clothing can also be obtained through SafeKids.



SafeKids offers mediation services to both host families and biological families.  Within a host home communication is a difficult thing.  Host families are not sure how to bring up tough subjects and the host student is ALWAYS scared that they will be expelled from a host home as they were expelled or not wanted in their last home.  Biological families can cause strife within the life of a student, whether they are living with their biological family or not, so knowing that struggles between all of these important people in a students life can cause added stress, SafeKids offers a safe way for feelings to be shared by all parties.



SafeKids offers counseling services through ***Mediate and Restore.  Students who do not already have a mental health professional can be seen through this resource at no cost to the host family.



SafeKids will have in-depth case management for all students they serve.  SafeKids offers host families 24/7 on call support for families and students through, phone, text, email, etc. Safe Kids provides student support with FAFSA applications, Social Security, DMV, and other processes through these and other state and federal departments. SafeKids staff work with support in the areas of juvenile justice, mentoring, tutoring, counseling, etc. Students are supported with doctors and schools when a supportive adult is needed. SafeKids encourages host families to work alongside the SafeKids staff as much as possible to create a positive living environment for all. The support that is offered is not offered solely to the student. The SafeKids staff are there for mediation, training and counseling to the host family as much as the family is in need or desire of.

What Does It Mean To Be Homeless

Homeless Children The McKinney-Vento Act, part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, guarantees homeless children and youth an education equal to what they would receive if not homeless.

Who is Homeless? According to the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless children and youth include individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes the following situations: • Sharing the housing of others (known as doubling-up) due to loss of housing or economic hardship • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds • Living in emergency or transitional shelters • Abandoned in hospitals • Awaiting foster-care placement • Living in a nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings The McKinney-Vento Act also recognizes unaccompanied youth who are homeless. According to the act, an unaccompanied youth is a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian.

Which School Can a Homeless Child Attend? There are two choices for a student in a homeless situation — the school of origin and the school of residency. The school of origin is the school the child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled. The school of residency is the school serving the area where the child or youth is currently physically dwelling. When determining the school of best interest, a homeless child or youth should remain in the school of origin (to the extent feasible) unless doing so is contrary to the wishes of the parent or guardian or to the wishes of the unaccompanied youth. Enrollment The McKinney-Vento Act requires the immediate enrollment of homeless children and youth. These children must be allowed to attend school even if they are unable to produce previous academic records, immunization and medical records, proofs of residency, birth certificates, or other documentation that is usually required. Transportation School districts must provide transportation for homeless children and youth to the school of best interest. Districts must also provide transportation during the resolution of any pending disputes. While disputes over enrollment, school placement or transportation arrangements are being resolved, students must be transported to the school of choice of the parent or the unaccompanied youth. The Homeless Coordinator A school district’s homeless coordinator plays a vital role in ensuring that children and youth experiencing homelessness enroll and succeed in school. The McKinney-Vento Act requires that every school district appoint a homeless coordinator who serves as the link between homeless families and school staff, district personnel, shelter workers and social-service providers.