Youth in Crisis

The Youth in Crisis public awareness campaign has been created to raise awareness about teen homelessness and resources available to youth who may be facing trouble at home. This PSA campaign was launched in Chicago, Illinois with local nonprofit partner Youth Network Council.


Chicago Safe Place is a youth outreach program that creates a network of Safe Place sites each identified by the program’s distinctive yellow and black diamond-shaped Safe Place logo. Locations such as restaurants, small businesses, fast-food restaurants, and community-based organizations offer a place for youth to access immediate help. The awareness campaign has been designed to assist youth aged 11-17 who have problems at home, are homeless, have runaway or just need to talk to someone.

Chicago Safe Place is directed by Youth Network Council in collaboration with three youth service agencies: Alternatives, Inc., Universal Family Connection, Inc., and Westside Youth Network, Inc. The Chicago Safe Place program is based on the National Safe Place model that started in 1983 in Louisville, KY through the YMCA. The City of Chicago is the largest city and one of more than 1,500 communities nationwide with a Safe Place program.

Safe Place strives to reduce victimization of young people through access to resources. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, sponsored by OJJDP and supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found in 2008 that more than 60 percent of children surveyed were exposed either directly or indirectly to violence within the previous twelve months.

Here’s how the Chicago Safe Place program works — a youth can walk into a Chicago Safe Place location and identify her/himself as a youth in crisis. A youth worker is dispatched to meet the young person, facilitate an assessment, and work with the youth to determine available options and services. Alternate ways a youth can access immediate help are by calling a 24 hour/day toll-free hotline (888.816.3264) or by texting the word “SAFE” and their current location (street address, city, and state) to 69866.

The elements for the Youth in Crisis campaign are as follows:

  • Movie Theatre Ads
  • Transit Ads (rail and bus)
  • Park/Transit Benches
  • Web Banners
  • Bus Shelter Posters
  • Posters
  • Brochures

The Chicago Safe Place Youth in Crisis campaign has been developed and directed by INOBTR (“I Know Better”), a non profit organization that educates about child safety through public awareness in an effort to keep kids safe. It has been funded through a cooperative agreement from the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justices and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).


Chicago Safe Place
Chicago Safe Place is an extension of National Safe Place and works to create partnerships with local businesses to make a network of Safe Place sites where youth in distress have somewhere to get immediate help and attention. Chicago Safe Place strives to make access to services easier and more youth-friendly for young people in crisis.

National Safe Place
The National Safe Place Organization is a place where troubled youth can get immediate help. Local businesses and agencies open their doors to youth by becoming sponsored Safe Places. Services rendered to youths in crisis include the immediate support of caring individuals as well as long-term mentoring. The National Safe Place vision is to make the Safe Place sign the universal symbol of help and safety for youth and to build safety nets that can prevent vulnerable children and teens from victimization.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has had a clear mission since 1980. “We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.” CCH develops and leads strategic campaigns, outreach, and initiatives that target the lack of housing and access to public services that homelessness creates.

National Runaway Switchboard
The mission of the National Runaway Switchboard is to help keep America’s runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. The NRS is made up of 23 paid employees and over 150 volunteers consisting of concerned adults who work with children including law enforcement officers, teachers, and parents.

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness attempts to create partnerships between all levels of the government and the private sector to reduce and eliminate homelessness. The USICH, through partnerships with 19 federal agencies, attempts to achieve the goals outlined in the federal plan to prevent and end homelessness.

Local Partner

Youth Network Council
Youth Network Council (YNC) advocates for vulnerable youth in Illinois, and for the agencies that serve them. Through a combination of training and technical assistance, policy development, and coordination and monitoring of service delivery systems, YNC works to build and maintain a strong state-wide youth service system. Since 1972, YNC’s mission has been to support local, community-based youth service agencies and to enhance their capacity to serve young people and their families with the goals of keeping them safe, reducing their involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and guiding them along the path to adulthood.

Examples of Campaign Materials

Interested in downloading materials from this campaign? The following materials are available:
  • Bus/street benches
  • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) platform screens
  • CTA bus tails
  • Bus interior ads
  • Train interior ads
  • Print ads to run in Mash school newspapers

Adopt this campaign for your community

Request Campaign Materials

Please fill out this form to request access to the Project Youth Safety document library where you can download all the materials for this campaign. Once it is received, you will be emailed a link that takes you to the document library where you can complete the download.

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