About Us


Youth Connections will continue to be the leader in advocating for youth and their families in Johnson and Morgan counties. We will provide dynamic programs and services that promote family support and positive youth development. We will achieve our goals through a highly knowledgeable and talented staff, a visionary board and vital community collaborations. The community will believe in Youth Connections and will invest in our future.

Core Beliefs

Youth Connections believes that every young person in our community deserves:

  • A healthy start
  • Caring mentors and parent(s)
  • Marketable skills
  • Opportunities to serve

We help families meet the emotional, physical and psychological needs of their children.

Diversity Statement

Youth Connections recognizes the importance of respecting people, valuing differences, and managing diversity.  It is our responsibility to enable, individually and collectively, the potential of all employees by creating a work environment supportive of the unique talents, skills, and abilities each has to contribute in achieving Youth Connections’ mission and meeting the needs of the individuals, customers and donors we serve in the community.

Recruitment and advertising for staff positions shall include a public notification process that encourages applications from a diverse population.  Applicants will complete an employment application form that is supplemented by interviews, references and other information. All interviewed applicants will be notified of employment decisions.


Youth Connections was founded in October of 1976. Johnson County’s effort to establish a Youth Service Bureau began with the shared concern of the community for a Shelter Care Facility as an alternative to placing youth in the county jail. Thus, with this primary goal of establishing a Shelter Care Facility the agency took the first of many steps to serve as an advocate for youth.

Through a combined effort of Federal and County support, the Johnson County Youth Shelter House became a reality. In May of 1979, the Shelter House received state licensure as a group home providing short-term care. In 1980, the Shelter House also became a long-term placement provider. In 1994, after fifteen years of service to the community, the agency made a tough decision to stop providing residential services. This decision became unavoidable when state policy makers began shifting funding and referral sources away from group homes to less restrictive environments. However, even after closing the group home, Youth Connections remained committed to reaching out to the young people who are most at risk in our communities.

In 1988, responding to an increasing number of runaway and homeless youth, Youth Connections established the Safe Place Program. The Safe Place / Host Homes program is a partnership between the business community, faith-based community, and philanthropic community who work together to create a healthy community for youth.  The addition of Host Homes in 1989 helped provide a needed service, temporary housing, to youth in crisis situations.

With the increasing number of divorces affecting youth’s family structure, Youth Connections and the Courts of Johnson County partnered to establish “What About the Children?”, a program for divorcing parents with children in 1994. This program provided divorcing parents with the tools required to support the emotional and physical needs of their children. “What About Me?” was established to engage young people in educational classes to help them better understand their feelings as well as cope with the changes in their lives. Both of these programs are offered today as a program called Families in Transition.

In 1997, Youth Connections made a decision to provide additional services for families who are in the highest conflict divorce. Custody Evaluation is a court-mandated objective assessment of the needs of children in divorce, guardianship, or paternity cases and each parent’s ability to meet the children’s needs.

The Children’s Visitation Center was established to provide children with more access to their non-custodial parents through supervised visitations and exchanges. In 2011, the Children’s Visitation Center assisted with over 760 hours of supervised visitation.