The Briarpatch Youth Shelter provides shelter and other services to homeless or runaway youth, or youth at risk of separation from their family due to conflict or other reasons. Opened in 2015, our shelter has eight beds and welcomes youths of all gender identities ages 12-17. There are an estimated 300 youth in Dane County who are homeless every night. This shelter was created to help these youth get off the streets and provide them with a safe place and services to succeed. Aside from providing shelter, we offer individual counseling, family counseling, case management and a 24-hour help line.


 2020 Impact:

  • 56 youth received shelter with assessment, counseling, and case management services
  • 557 nights of safe housing were provided in our youth shelter
  • 100% of youth attended school while in shelter


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The Street Outreach Program was created to address the increasing number of vulnerable youth living on the streets and engaging in potentially self-destructive behaviors. The program utilizes paid staff and trained volunteers to contact youth living on the street and connect them with resources they need to be safe and healthy. Youth are provided with personal care items, hygiene kits, STI prevention information and supplies, informational counseling, referrals to meal sites, referrals to shelter services and referrals for counseling and medical care as appropriate. 

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The Teens Like Us Program (TLU) provides support and education for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth ages 13-18. Founded over 20 years ago, TLU provides a safe place for youth to meet with their peers. The group also serves youth questioning their sexuality as well as youth from LGBT - headed families. 

Due to COVID-19, TLU meetings will be held virtually every Wednesday from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice. Please email Ollie or Emily for access to the virtual meeting. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To contact co-facilitators through social media:

On March 2nd, two new bills were introduced to the WI State Legislator that would seek to prohibit schools from allowing students join teams that don't correspond to their sex assigned at birth. This legislation further works to alienate trans individuals from their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In addition to the athletic exclusion, trans people face daily victimization, isolation, and violence. In over 30 states, it is possible to admit to killing a trans person specifically because they are trans and be exonerated. Doctors can refuse to treat trans people. Trans murder rates are at an all time high and climbing. According to the Trevor Project, queer youth represent 40% of the homeless youth population; and nearly 1 in 2 trans youth will have attempted suicide before the age of 25.

If is well known by LGBTQIA2s+ allies, activists and scholars that providing trans youth with inclusion and affirmation is a risk prevention. As such, Briarpatch Youth Services fully supports protecting ALL LGBTQIA2s+ youth individuals, treating them with dignity and providing affirming spaces. For any LGBTQIA2s+ or questioning youth seeking support during these divisive times, Teens Like Us offers support. 


The Runaway & Homeless Youth Program (RHYP) provides a wide variety of services to youth in need. These services include: temporary shelter, individual counseling, family counseling, outreach, case management, and a 24-hour help-line. 

Currently, the RHY Program has a two month waitlist for individual and family counseling services. If counseling services are needed and two month wait time is too long, please contact the Behavioral Health Resource Center at 608.267.2244 to explore other counseling options in the Dane County area. Crisis related to mental health concerns should call Journey Mental Health at 608.280.2600. Thank you for your patience and understanding. For the waitlist, please call our Helpline at 608.251.1126.

Intakes for our emergency youth shelter remain accessible 24/7. 


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The Parent Support Program is currently holding virtual group meetings. The group meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6-8 pm. For virtual meeting instructions, please email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The Parent Support Program services are designed to assist concerned parents and caregivers of a youth or young adult experiencing one or more of the following challenges: 

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Mental health challenges
  • Truancy and academic problems
  • Chronic runaway behaviors
  • Physical violence and abusive behaviors
  • Self-harm and cutting
  • Parent/child conflict
  • Difficulty with interpersonal relationships

 To learn more about parenting challenges, the following resources offer some immediate support:

 Case Management

Short-term case management services offered to address parent/youth conflict.

  • Consultation
  • Brief family counseling
  • Referrals and resources 

For more information call 608.245.2550, ext. 1230 or email the Program Coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..