Youth Advocate Services
Promoting Positive Futures

a note from our ceo

what we're about

Continuing the Journey
Today, YAS continues to transform lives across Central Ohio. We provide Therapeutic and Traditional Foster Care (with additional Adoption Support for YAS foster parents), Franklin County Early Childhood service coordination, and Community Behavioral Health services which includes in-agency Psychiatric Counseling.

A Future of Possibilities
Our commitment to excellence and continuous exploration of new opportunities reflects our dedication to evolving with the changing needs of children, families, and the community.

Join us in our mission as we continue to shape stories of hope, resilience, and empowerment. Together, we can create a brighter future for all.


about us

Commencing a new chapter in 2011 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the relocation and renovation of YAS offices, made possible by the generous support of our community, contributing over $100,000.

​These advocates became mentors, helping youth navigate life's challenges, understand their roots, and build the skills needed for a positive future, forming the foundation of what would later become Youth Advocate Services.

Official Recognition
YAS officially gained recognition as the first treatment foster care agency in Ohio in October 1978, focusing on residential care and social services for children in need. By 1980, YAS expanded its reach, accepting children from various county services. The commitment to innovative treatment foster care for older and troubled youth paved the way for YAS's growth.

Growing with Purpose
In the late 1990s, YAS introduced the Early Start and Help Me Grow programs, later rebranded as Help Me Grow Home Visiting and Franklin County Early Intervention under the Early Childhood program umbrella. This expansion continued into the mid-2000s with the inclusion of respite care for youth in the foster care program. This initiative ensured that YAS could provide a diverse range of support services to those who needed it most.

Meeting National Standards
​2007 marked a significant milestone as YAS earned accreditation from the Council on Accreditation, a testament to YAS' unwavering commitment to high standards and enabling the provision of comprehensive services. The following year, certification from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services allowed the introduction of home-based and school-based Behavioral Health services, funded by Medicaid. 

The Birth of YAS
The inaugural network of 10 foster homes, along with one alternate home, was carefully selected from the Clintonville area in 1977. By February 1978, the first youth found solace in the care of these foster parents, referred to as 'advocates.' More than just homes, these advocates provided counseling, tutoring, behavior management, job placement, community education, and social activities. 

It is truly humbling to see the incredible stories we hear from clients, the feedback we get from the community, and the number of families who benefit from our support.

Sarah Steuer

Founded in 1978 as Ohio's first treatment Foster Care program, Youth Advocate Services (YAS) remains an essential organization addressing the ever-evolving needs of Central Ohio families. Our impactful Foster Care, Franklin County Early Intervention, and Behavioral Health programs offer counseling, service coordination and community and education support services - all provided at no cost to the families we serve.

Our Story: Promoting Positive Futures Since 1978

In 1975, a compassionate movement blossomed among foster parents in Franklin County, united by shared concerns about the quality of care provided to youth. Troubled by the limited facilities available, especially for older youth facing significant challenges, these foster parents, along with the Women's Resource and Policy Development Center, decided to take a stand. 

A Vision Realized
In 1976, they embarked on a groundbreaking demonstration project, aiming to attract exceptional foster parents, empower them with ongoing education and support, and create strong bonds among families. The focus was on addressing the needs of troubled youth an providing them an alternative - a loving foster home instead of an institution, a chance to rewrite their story.

In 2021, YAS foster care staff organize a drive-through event, ensuring foster youth are equipped for the new school year by distributing clothing, hygiene items, and school supplies with care and community support.

Sarah Steuer, MSSA, LSW