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The vision of the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) is that every young person served by Missouri DYS will become a productive citizen and lead a fulfilling life. DYS is committed to protecting the safety of Missouri citizens by providing individualized, comprehensive, strengths and needs-based services that enable youth to successfully reintegrate into their home and community.

Small, regionalized, residential and non-residential programs and services have replaced the large training schools that once characterized DYS. In order to more effectively and efficiently administer the programs and services, DYS is divided into five geographic regions:

  • Northeast
  • Northwest
  • St. Louis
  • Southeast
  • Southwest

DYS was created within the Department of Social Services through the Omnibus State Reorganization Act of 1974. DYS provides services to youth committed to the division’s custody and provides day treatment services to youth referred by other agencies and juvenile courts.

House Bill 174, known as the Juvenile Crime Bill, was passed in 1995, changing the way DYS and juvenile courts operate. Missouri law currently states:

  • Children younger than 12 may be committed to DYS custody
  • Youth older than 18 may remain in DYS custody until their 21st birthday
  • Youth certified to stand trial as an adult may be committed to both the Department of Corrections and DYS under a "dual jurisdiction" provision
  • A young person of any age who has been charged with one