Youth Emergency Service

Founded in 1976, Youth Emergency Service (YES) offers immediate housing and respite to youth facing housing insecurity or who are unable to safely live with family. YES provides a safe, supportive environment, on-site medical care, education support, youth-centered activities, links to resources and support to continue in school or get reconnected. Older youth are walking distance from the Achieving Independence Center (AIC). Yearly, YES provides these support services to more than 400 adolescent boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17.

Youth can refer themselves, enter through the formal child welfare system, Department of Human Services or through referrals from partner organizations throughout the county. Referrals can also come from family, school staff and other concerned persons.

Youth Emergency Service (YES)

1526 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Tim Massaquoi
215-787-0633, x1101
Contact Us


The YES Way

YES promotes social and emotional development with programming that uses trauma informed approaches in youth engagement. Youth are provided opportunities to build skills that can prove useful on their journey towards stability and success. The YES community commits to four key values:

  • Mindfulness – promoting self-worth and dignity of individuals through actions
  • Safe and Open – ensuring a safe, open, inclusive and welcoming environment
  • Accountability –meeting identified commitments to each other
  • Development – creating an environment that promotes personal and professional development

YES Services include:

  • 24-hour emergency respite and protection for youth ages 12-17
  • Telephone hotline and referral services as well as connections to national runaway and homeless youth providers through the National Runaway Safeline and National Safe Place
  • Medical examinations and follow-up
  • Counseling supports and referrals
  • Voluntary and confidential HIV testing
  • Linkage to The Attic for those wanting service for LGBTQ youth
  • Physical and sexual health information and support services
  • Referral to home-based services for families
  • Education and recreation programming and support services
  • Title I tutoring

Basic Center Program (RHY)

The Basic Center Program (RHY) addresses the immediate crisis needs of youth ages 12-17 who are not in the child welfare system. Many are without a permanent home. The goal of this program is to get the youth the supports and attention they need so that they can establish stability in housing and connect them to other critical supports, i.e., medical care, counseling, food. Youth do not have to reside at YES to benefit from these services.

The Basic Center Program works with housing insecure youth to:

  • Respond to immediate crisis needs with a safe place to stay and the resources to maintain as much stability in daily living as possible, i.e., continue attending school, working, receiving medical care;
  • Meet the youth’s immediate physical or emotional needs;
  • With the youth as partner, identify relatives as potential resources and begin conflict mediation with family of origin;
  • At all times, employ harm reduction, positive youth development and trauma informed and sensitive responses;
  • Support youth in achieving a safe and stable living arrangement;
  • Link the youth to after care supports at YES.

For information about the Basic Center Program, or to inquire about resources, please contact Tim Massaquoi at 215-787-0633, x1101.

Safe Place

YES is the local affiliate of National Safe Place which is a network of sites across the country that provide access to immediate help and support resources for all young people in crisis. Safe Place educates and engages communities on ways to recognize youth in need and how to connect them to resources including temporary shelter. There are a network of Safe Place sites throughout Philadelphia that have volunteers who can support and connect youth in need to YES and can be identified by their black and yellow signs. YSI has been a member of National Safe Place since 2007. For more information about the program or if you would like to learn more about becoming a Safe Place site, please contact Tim Massaquoi at 215-787-0633, x1101.

Status Offender Program (SOP)

Through SOP, YSI provides transportation services from midnight to 8am for youth ages 12-17 who have been detained by Philadelphia police for minor offenses, also known as status offenses such as shoplifting, trespassing, and curfew violation. The youth are deemed releasable to a parent or guardian.

Prior to the implementation of the Status Offender Program, releasable juveniles were regularly being held in secure detention at local police stations. The processing of these youth often took up to 13 hours.

SOP staff transports status offenders from police district to their homes or YES when called by Philadelphia police. Youth who cannot be returned home (the parent does not answer the phone or the door) are escorted to YES, where they will spend the remainder of the night and be taken to DHS in the morning.

SOP will also offer intervention and referral services to youth and their parents, as needed.

Family Reunification (FR)

FR promotes timely family reunification for youth ages 12-17 entering out-of-home placement for the first time due to well-being issues, such as parent/child conflict, truancy, domestic violence, behavioral health, etc. The goal is to reunify the youth and family within six months of placement.

FR service coordinators navigate and advocate for the youth and families to receive appropriate services from community-based providers.

Help YSI Help Children and Families

By contributing, you can help YSI provide much needed services to vulnerable children and families such as: shelter for homeless and runaway teens, 24-hour emergency care for young children, truancy prevention, counseling, and in-home support services. We count on the generous support of individual donors, foundations, businesses and faith communities to ensure that the 5,000+ that we serve receive excellent care.