The 1974 Omnibus Reorganization Act passed by the Missouri General Assembly created the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), located within the Department of Social Services. The reorganization act was the first step in the establishment of DYS as it is known today. Considerable change has occurred within DYS over the many years since its creation. Regionalization of treatment and administration, the closing of large rural training schools, the development of community-based services and the establishment of a case management system have all marked this change.

The Division of Youth Services continues to face new challenges. The number of youth committed to the custody of DYS has grown, with fiscal year 1995 representing a high-water mark of over 1,300. Additionally, DYS continues to provide day treatment services to a number of youth referred by other agencies and juvenile courts. Fiscal year 1995 witnessed the implementation of a plan to increase the division’s residential care resources by adding an additional 180 secure beds as authorized by the Fourth State Building Bond Issue.

During fiscal year 1995 House Bill 174 was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. This bill, commonly known as the "juvenile crime bill", fundamentally changes the way DYS and the juvenile courts operate. Children younger than twelve may now be committed to the division’s custody, youth older than eighteen may now be held in DYS custody until their twenty-first birthday, and a youth certified to stand trial as an adult may now be committed to both the Department of Corrections and the Division of Youth Services under a "dual jurisdiction" provision. Also, a young person of any age, who has been charged with committing one of seven serious felony offenses may now be certified to stand trial under the adult criminal code.

Director’s Staff:

Phone: 573-751-3324
Fax: 573-526-4494