The Safely Home Campaign is a national movement to keep youth safe and together with their families by building and supporting strong communities, returning kids from out-of-home placements, keeping high-risk youth safely home with the support they need and improving community safety. The Campaign promotes the belief that community-based programs for high-risk youth should be the norm, and out-of-home placement the exception, not the other way around. Initiated by Youth Advocate Program (YAP), the Safely Home Campaign relies on partnerships with systems, policymakers, advocates and practitioners to achieve six goals.


On any given day in the United States over 500,000 youth live away from home, separated from their families and communities. They are the youth with the most complex needs who cannot get the services they need in their home environments without support, and who systems send away from their homes in an attempt to meet those needs.

Why We Need the Safely Home Campaign

  • Too many kids live away from home or are not living in safe communities.
  • Poor and minority youth are overrepresented in out-of-home placements and unsafe communities.
  • LGBTQ youth face unique challenges that put them at elevated risk of placement in out-of-home placements or homelessness.
  • Too many youth are aging out of care without permanent connections.
  • Kids do better and achieve better outcomes when they are valuable parts of their families and seen as assets in their own communities.
  • Investing in keeping kids safely home with the support they need is also a wiser long-term investment of scarce resources.
  • When communities invest in the most marginalized families, community safety increases.
  • Programs that prioritize cultural competence can help the most marginalized youth who face discrimination, including LGBTQ youth.


To keep young people safely home youth serving systems and communities can be far more creative and implement a variety of solutions. We can build solutions based on the individual needs of each youth. Building these solutions requires a multi-faceted strategy that includes families, public policy, redirecting resources, individualizing services and support to communities and agencies with a desire to improve youth outcomes.

How We Can Do Better:
Focus on Needs not Services

  • Engage families to have voice and choice and value their expertise.
  • Support and develop public policies that incentivize keeping families together.
  • Redirect resources for out-of-home placements to intensive community programs.
  • Replace out-of-home placements with programs equipped to reach young people.
  • Support government agencies and communities that want to build their capacities.


Communities and systems that work to bring youth safely home have a greater impact than improving youth outcomes. The right service for the right youth can strengthen families, build community capacity to help other youth in need, and prevent damaging disconnection from family and community. The impact of bringing youth safely home also can positively affect individuals, businesses, communities and governments in unique and important ways.

The Impact

  • Government agencies, especially those working with youth and young people in child welfare, behavioral health and juvenile justice systems can safely meet their missions.
  • Kids and families stay together and achieve better outcomes.
  • Community-based programs that include culturally competent staff as a core principle can directly help reduce overrepresentation of youth of color in the system.
  • Individual and community safety increases.
  • Community-based programs keep youth and jobs in the community.
  • Costs go down and communities can invest in building capacity for all youth and vulnerable populations.
  • Kids and families go from being recipients of services to contributors to their communities.
  • Typically underserved populations like girls and youth who identify as LGBTQ can receive services tailored to their unique needs, including creating safety plans or services related to sexual abuse.


A brief overview of the Campaign in a printable 4-page booklet.



This infographic compares what a community has to offer vs. a youth prison.



This report outlines the elements of effective community-based alternatives for high and complex need youth in the juvenile justice system.



This report advocates for transforming our approach to young people in conflict with the law by growing community capacity and resources.