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The mission of The Children's Shelter is to improve the lives of children and families, with a focus on children at risk in Douglas County and northeast Kansas.

The Children's Shelter is a nonprofit social service agency based in Lawrence, Kansas. We provide a variety of services designed to strengthen families and children who are experiencing major changes. Our flagship program provides temporary, residential group care to children ages 10-18 who are placed with us as a result of court involvement due to abuse, neglect or law enforcement. Through Family Foster Care Services we recruit, train and support foster parents for kids who are placed in-home. We want our kids to feel welcome and comfortable so that they can thrive.


We believe that children are best served by keeping families together and safe, so dedicate much of our effort to preservation and prevention work. We provide crisis intervention and assessment at juvenile intake, and beyond our intervention at the time of law enforcement, we also offer diversion and truancy programs. We have family case managment programs designed to alleviate risk of out-of-home placements in Douglas County as well as in 25 other eastern Kansas counties.  


Our original home, an emergency shelter facility for youth, opened in 1981 in collaboration with the City of Lawrence. Since that time, we have added another house and the agency has diversified and grown it's programs to meet the needs of our community while striving to provide the highest standard of care. Our annual fundraiser Festival of Trees helps support our responsibility to the children of northeast Kansas. 



​The Shelter, Inc is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Financial information such as annual tax returns may be found on our GuideStar profile or requested from our office. We were awarded a silver ribbon by GuideStar for our commitment to transparency.

Meeting the needs of the children we serve requires funding from a number of sources, including: City of Lawrence, Douglas County, Federal & State Grants, Juvenile Justice Authority Provider Agreement, Kansas State Department of Children and Families, Subcontracts with Primary Contractors for Kansas Child Welfare Services, Festival of Trees and other generous private donations.

We are CARF Certified. CARF is an international three-year accreditation awarded to health and human service providers that focus on quality and results. CARF accreditation consists of ongoing consultation and in-depth on-site reviews to help our organization achieve the highest quality of care for our clients.


We work with a network of organizations throughout Kansas and are thankful for our partnerships. 



Executive Director  Joyce has over 20 years of experience working in child welfare and is an expert in her field. She joined The Children's Shelter in 2011 as the Family Services Program Supervisor, transitioned to Quality Assurance Manager in 2017, then to Assistant Director in 2019. Joyce was named Executive Director of The Children's Shelter in August 2020.

Erin Harmon

Prevention Program Manager Born and raised in Lawrence, Erin has been working in the field of child welfare for the last 15 years. Erin received a degree from the University of Kansas in Psychology in 2003. She started her career with the Department of Children and Families and moved to Bert Nash Mental Health Center where she was a case manager and waiver facilitator for 7 years. She started with The Children’s Shelter in June 2014 and ran the High School Truancy program for Douglas County until her promotion to Prevention Services Program Manager. Erin now oversees the agency’s prevention programs including the Truancy, Specialized Case Management, and Prevention Case Management programs.

Business Manager Kim Jaymes has been working with The Children's Shelter since 1996, over 20 years!. Her career in nonprofits began in youth ministry and as a preschool teacher. Now Kim keeps The Children's Shelter organized and running through accounting, payroll, marketing, IT, Festival of Trees and much more.

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Keith Dabney


Annette Wallace


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Becky Cheek-King

Wint Winter, Jr.

Deb Drummet

Chris Koster

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Bill DeWitt

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Wesley Smith

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