Rainbow House began in November, 1986, in an old farmhouse with room for up to twelve children. Kathy Hughes, founder, had been a foster parent for many years. She had the vision to provide a safe, home-like environment where sibling groups would be kept together and children would continue in their home school. Her compassion for children, sincere dedication, and ability to mobilize the community resulted in the founding of the only emergency children's shelter in Mid-Missouri.The agency has historically provided placement for children age birth to eighteen years. 

Children playingChild

In 1992, services were expanded to include crisis care. This program provides for children whose parents are in crisis and need a safe place to house their children while they attempt to stabilize their own lives. Crisis Care is truly a prevention program in that it provides a respite placement that can be accessed by a parent without involvement of any other agencies. Parents may face a major crisis including homelessness, unemployment, temporary mental instability, or other issues that can cause major stress in one’s life. Crisis Care can relieve the parent of the added stress of parenting at the same time they are trying to solve their crisis. It is our belief that children are protected from abuse because parents choose to utilize this Rainbow House service.

Many years later, ICAN (Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect) and the Rainbow House Board of Directors recognized the need for a child advocacy center. In August of 1998, the Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center (CAC) began conducting forensic interviews, remaining true to the Rainbow House mission of keeping children safe and supporting families in crisis. The CAC offers a child-friendly environment where abused and neglected children are interviewed. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary team approach, the CAC works with the investigative personnel from law enforcement, children’s division, juvenile office and prosecuting attorney’s offices to coordinate the best and most effective response to allegations of sexual and severe physical abuse of a child.  Every effort is made to interview a child only one time.

Our newest program, The Homeless Youth Program opened as a service of Rainbow House in November 2007. The Homeless Youth Program consists of a transitional living program (for youth ages 16-21) and teen emergency shelter (for youth ages 16-18) who are homeless, or at risk for homelessness, due to unfavorable or abusive situations occurring in their current environment. The transitional living program and teen emergency shelter requires participation in educational or vocational situations and offers supportive services such as counseling, life skills training, mentoring, and linkage to partnering organizations. In 2012, we expanded our HYP by adding a Street Outreach Program and collaborating with National SafePlace.

Rainbow House has progressively provided services to greater numbers of children over the years. In the past year, more than 350 children received services in the Rainbow House programs. 

Rainbow House is staffed by trained, qualified individuals, experienced in working with children in crisis situations. Staff and volunteers undergo background checks and training to provide the highest level of care.