How You Can Help

It may be helpful to know what to do if you come in contact with a struggling teen that is “couch surfing,” has been kicked out of their home, or claims that it is not safe to go home. Here are some quick tips:

  1. If a young person reports that they have been “kicked out” of their caregivers’ home, ran away because they were being abused, OR are currently a ward of the court, immediately call the Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-392-3738 to discuss possible services within Children’s Division. If youth states that they ran away and deny a history of abuse, call Columbia Police Dept. 874-7652 as the caregivers may have placed a missing persons report. Then, law enforcement can take youth into custody and contact the Juvenile Office and caregiver.
  2. You may call the Rainbow House at 573 474 6600 to consult for possible placement IF ALL IS APPLICABLE:
  • Child is 16-17 years old (such youth can contract for shelter according to Qualified Minor Law)
  • Child Abuse hotline refuses to take the report
  • Juvenile Office or CPD refuse to take custody

Homeless youth

If you have any questions or concerns about this, you can always call Rainbow House for consultation. We are happy to assist anyone working with a struggling young person and are very interested in talking with young people directly about their situation and needs.

Although there are few housing options for homeless youth under 18, particularly if the Juvenile Office does not take custody, there are several organizations that provide employment, educational, and other services to youth. Please feel free to refer young people to the following or contact Rainbow House for a complete list of services available in the Boone County area.

CARE Program

800 N. Providence, Suite 210

Columbia, MO 65203


Youth employment services; basic skills tutoring; various educational opportunities

Burrell Health Services

3217 South Providence Rd., Ste. 2

Columbia, MO 65201


Provides individual, group, and family mental health services as well as psychiatric evaluations and care.

Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and Interfaith Day Center

616 Park Avenue

Columbia, MO 65201


Services primarily for homeless persons including:  hospitality, phone for job referrals, clothing, showers, labor pool, and supper; referrals and information for work, ID’s, financial assistance and medical need.

Job Corps.

514 E. High Street Suite 30

Jefferson City, MO 65101


Assists young people ages 16 through 24 get a better job, make more money, and take control of their lives. At Job Corps, students enroll to learn a trade, earn a high school diploma or GED and get help finding a good job. Job Corps provides career counseling and transition support to its students for up to 18 months after they graduate from the program.

Job Point

2116 Nelwood Drive

Columbia, MO 65202


Career planning; skills training in office technology, custodial/building maintenance and construction; supported employment; career readiness training, job placement and support; deaf and blind services; education and literacy.

Voluntary Action Center

800 N. Providence Suites 220

Columbia, MO 65203


Information and referral; advocacy; volunteer coordination, promotion, recruitment, training, fairs and recognition; emergency shelter; urgent transportation; assistance with other emergency services when funds are available (food, medication, gasoline, work clothing, ID, hygiene items).

Other ways to help:

  • Become a Volunteer Mentor to help young people develop necessary life skills.
  • Become an “Adopted Family” resource for teens needing loving and supportive people in their lives.
  • Help us continue to educate Boone County on the needs of homeless youth by speaking at local churches and organizations.
  • Donate funds and resources needed for the facility.