Youth Villages

At a Glance

National Office: 
3320 Brother Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38133
Phone: 901-251-5000

Patrick W. Lawler
People Served: 
Year Founded: 
Tax ID: 

Focus area(s):

Health Services/Access
Mental Health



Youth Villages is a leading national nonprofit providing effective local solutions to help America’s most emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth and their families live successfully. Youth Villages serves more than 20,000 troubled children and families every year in 11 states.


Impact and Outcomes

86% of children served in Youth Villages' programs are discharged successfully.
84% of those children continue to live successfully 2 years after discharge.
93% of families report being satisfied with Youth Villages' services.

Matching Gift

Through a legacy gift from the Day Foundation all major gifts to fund Youth Villages’ Transitional Living program in target high-potential areas are eligible to be matched 1:1 between FY13-FY17.

Mission & Goals

Youth Villages is a leading nonprofit transforming the field of foster care and juvenile justice to help the country’s most vulnerable children and families live successfully. Through 25-years of learning and research with more than 70,000 children its approach of Evidentiary Family Restoration™ is relentlessly focused on building strong families and produces a long-term success rate of 80%, which is nearly twice the national average, and it operates at one-third the cost compared to traditional services.

The Five Core Tenets of Evidentiary Family Restoration are:

1. Evidentiary Family Restoration treats children and families simultaneously. Evidentiary Family Restoration (EFR) is built on the evidence that sustainable long-term success for troubled children is most consistently achieved by restoring a supportive family system around each child. It is optimally the child’s original family. It may be an adoptive family. Whatever form the family takes, it is the vital element for preventing recidivism and destructive behaviors.

2. Evidentiary Family Restoration requires measurable long-term outcomes. For too long, the national systems that serve troubled children and their families, including the children’s mental health, child protective and juvenile justice communities, paid little attention to the long-term outcomes of children. Warehousing troubled children creates troubled young adults. Using an EFR approach with their families, however, significantly increases the likelihood that they are still on positive trajectories even two years after discharge. Tracking every child and documenting successful outcomes 12 and 24 months after discharge are critical components of EFR.

3. Evidentiary Family Restoration is sustained in the community. Families vastly outperform states or service providers at raising children. EFR keeps children in the home whenever safely possible, and ensures out-of-home placements – including foster care – are rare, short-term, actively inclusive of the child’s family, and used only out of urgent necessity… all with the ultimate goal of returning the child to a safe, permanent and supportive home as soon as possible.

4. Evidentiary Family Restoration uses highly intensive protocols that are delivered 24/7. A key element of EFR’s effectiveness is the delivery of a comprehensive, research-based and immersive level of contact with the child, family and community. This is possible only through very low case-load ratios, intense training and clinical oversight and empowered, accountable front-line staff on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5. Evidentiary Family Restoration delivers unprecedented accountability to families and funders. Increasing pressure for fiscal accountability nationwide has driven much of the interest in EFR because the approach ensures that any public or private resources expended deliver proven social outcomes. Data-driven and outcomes-focused child services are moral obligations not only to the children served, but also to the public and private dollars of which states, agencies and providers are stewards. For families and funders both, EFR provides a single source of accountability for a family’s success.


Youth Villages was founded in 1986 in Memphis, Tennessee, through the merger of two residential treatment centers that together served 80 children. Since then, Youth Villages has greatly expanded and now serves more than 20,000 children and their families every year through a variety of programs including:

  • Intensive in-home services 
  • Intensive Residential Programs
  • Transitional Living
  • Treatment foster care and adoption
  • Group Homes and an emergency shelter for homeless and runaway teens
  • Specialized Crisis Services
  • Mentoring


Currently, Youth Villages provides services across 11 states. Referrals are accepted from psychiatrists, parents, judges, social workers, state child welfare departments and others. Youth Villages provides help to children and adolescents who suffer from a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorder, unruly or delinquent behavior, and physical or sexual abuse. Eighty percent of the children have multiple issues.  Although ages range from birth to 22 years old, the majority of the children servedare between 12 and 17.


A private, nonprofit organization with the mission of helping children and families live successfully, Youth Villages is engaged in exciting work in 68 locations across the country. Youth Villages has been serving emotionally and behaviorally troubled children for 25 years and, during that time, they have helped over 70,000 children and their families.  Its evidence-based programs produce measurable, successful outcomes for these youth and their families, and they do this more efficiently than other providers.

Youth Villages' work has drawn national attention.  Youth Villages has been cited as a national model in the American Youth Policy Forum's annual report to Congress. Additionally, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice has recognized Youth Villages as a leader in children's mental health and has encouraged other states to replicate Youth Villages' approach.  Youth Villages was recently identified by the White House as being among “effective, innovative non-profits,” under an initiative that will “identify the most promising, results-oriented non-profit programs and expand their reach throughout the country.” 

Impact Statement

Youth Villages helps emotionally and behaviorally troubled children rebuild their lives and saves broken families. Long-term, this translates into fewer children requiring state custody and a better than 80 percent success rate of children remaining at home, staying in school and staying out of trouble with authorities. 

In the past year, Youth Villages has had the following accomplishments:

  • Of the children who have been discharged from the program two years ago, 83% are living at home or in a home-like environment in the community.
  • The nationally-acclaimed in-home counseling program has achieved an 86% success rate at one year post discharge, making it possible for thousands of children to be permanently reunited with either their parents or relatives.
  • The Non-Profit Times and Best Companies Group have named Youth Villages as one of the 50 Best Nonprofit Organizations to Work For in the United States in 2010 and 2011.
  • Youth Villages’ Transitional Living program is participating in an independent, random assignment evaluation conducted by MDRC, a non-profit research and policy group with an outstanding reputation that specializes in this type of evaluation. The study will include 1,600 youth, making it the largest random assignment evaluation of this type of program for young people in this critical transition phase. The purpose of the trial is to critically and objectively evaluate if the program is achieving the long term goals as intended.  Participants are followed for 5 years post discharge to assess their long term success in the community.  
  • Give Smart, a book on philanthropy released in March, 2011, makes several mentions of Youth Villages and specifically the impact its work has made on thousands of lives.

Growth Plan

While Youth Villages has made strides in bringing our services to new states, there are still significant gaps in service, leadership, and influence to address. Based on its experience and commitment to continuous improvement, Youth Villages knows it must close these gaps to achieve a presence as deep and influential in other states as it has in Tennessee, where the organization was founded in 1986. Strategic Priorities over the next five years (FY13-FY17) include:

1) Build strong organizations in key states that can achieve the kind of systems transformation that has occurred in Tennessee by:

  • Supporting critical leadership investments in high-potential states
  • Pursuing strategic opportunities, such as mergers and acquisitions, to deepen partnerships with states

2) Clearly establish the EFR™ (Evidentiary Family Restoration) approach in government, academic, and youth services circles as the leading model for addressing the needs of vulnerable young people across the nation. This will occur by:

  • Strengthening the evidence base and further validating a strong return on investment via randomized control trials
  • Driving the national conversation regarding the benefits of intensive in-home services

3) Strengthen the national organization by:

  • Increasing national business development/government relations bandwidth
  • Expanding leadership/staff development initiatives
  • Adding strategy function and expanding fundraising/development activities

4) Build and strengthen public/private state partnerships specifically to support the expansion and long-term sustainability of its transitional living program for youth aging out of state care by:

  • Expanding both service and local fundraising capacity to enhance sustainability of transitional living in high-potential markets
  • Completing randomized clinical trial to quantify effectiveness (first such model in the country for aging out population)
  • Creating a designated Transitional Living Endowment Fund

Location of Sites

National Office: 
3320 Brother Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38133
Phone: 901-251-5000
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:








North Carolina

New Hampshire




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Major Funders


The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

The Assisi Foundation of Memphis

The Day Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Duke Endowment

Jacobson Family Foundation

Klarman Family Foundation

The Kresge Foundation


The GreenLight Fund

Jenesis Group

Microsoft Corp.

The Plough Foundation

The Robertson Foundation

Strategic Grant Partners