Providing high-quality legal assistance & equal access to justice to low-income people...

Youth & Family Advocacy Program


LSEM’s Youth and Family Advocacy Program helps St. Louis County youth and families by removing legal barriers that hinder self-sufficiency.

Clients receive advice, advocacy, education, and/or representation on legal matters aimed at promoting a safe and secure existence, free from abuse and domestic violence; and improving access to stable housing, employment, education, health/mental health services, and public benefits. 

LSEM’s Youth and Family Advocacy Program may be able to assist you if you are a St. Louis County resident and:

  • You are an unaccompanied youth aged 19 and under who is homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless; or
  • You are a family with children ages 19 and under who are at-risk of homelessness or out-of-home placement.

LSEM’s Youth and Family Advocacy Program may be able to assist you if you have any of the following legal needs:

  • You are being evicted from your apartment (private housing, public housing, or other subsidized housing);
  • You have a dispute with a landlord or housing authority;
  • You would like to seek an order of protection, child custody, divorce or child/spousal support and you are a victim of domestic violence;
  • You would like to obtain a guardianship over a minor or a disabled adult;
  • You received a denial or termination of TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Child Care Assistance or other benefits;
  • You have credit problems or debt collection issues;
  • Your parent, guardian, family member, friend or a stranger stole your identity (for example: they turned on utilities in your name);
  • You are an LGBT youth;
  • You or a youth has problems with school enrollment or transportation and you are homeless or in foster care;
  • You or a youth requires special educational services, or you have been suspended or expelled;
  • You are an unaccompanied youth and you are having trouble accessing federal financial aid for college; or
  • You are an unaccompanied youth and cannot access health/mental health services, banking, housing, shelter, or services because you have no parent or guardian to provide consent.



Melissa Showalter, Case Manager and Intake Specialist     

Jennifer Heggemann, Director of Social Work  

Sarah Turner, Staff Attorney


Other Resources:

St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund: Link to website

Youth Connection Helpline: The helpline offers multiple access points for youth and families in crisis to quickly connect 24 hours a day, seven days a week with needed resources throughout the community. 

Calls and texts are received at Behavioral Health Response, where professional mental health counselors respond to each caller’s needs, dispatch Youth In Need’s Street Outreach staff as necessary, and offer linkages to appropriate services.

The access points include:

  • Phone at (314) 628-2929 Text 4HLP to 31658
  • Chat online by clicking here

Safe Place: Safe Place’s mission is to provide access to immediate help and supportive resources for all young people in crisis through a network of sites sustained by qualified agencies, trained volunteers and businesses. This link will take you to all of the organizations that participate in the Safe Place Program and lists all the sites located within St. Louis County .