Mission & History

Our Mission: Arbor Youth Services provides safe alternatives for at-risk children, youth and their families through services and referrals that promote positive growth and development. 

Our Vision: We envision a community partnership where all at-risk children and youth are strengthened and supported to regain ties with their family, their community and other encouraging adults.


The joint efforts of the Junior League of Lexington and the Orphan’s Society of Lexington, in partnership with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), led to the September 1976 opening of a coed adolescent group home in a Fourth Street duplex in Lexington.  After 18 months of successful operation, primary funding responsibility for the Metro Group Home program was assumed by the LFUCG.

The M.A.S.H. (Metro Alternative Shelter House) Drop Inn began operation in August 1979 at a location on East Maxwell Street.  M.A.S.H. originally was developed as a companion to the Coleman House for receiving funds under an “Alternative to Detention” LEAA federal grant.  The Coleman House sheltered younger children, sibling groups, female dependent children, female status offenders, and certain female public offenders.  M.A.S.H. in turn provided shelter care for up to 30 days for male dependent teens, male status offenders, and certain male public offenders. LEAA grant money fully funded the program for three years, and then at a rate of 50% for one year.

Funding for Metro Group Homes, Inc. (including the group home and M.A.S.H.) subsequently was obtained from sources such as the federal Runaway Youth Act, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the United Way of the Bluegrass, and various private donations/fundraising efforts.  With Runaway Youth Act funding, M.A.S.H. became a coed facility.  It was accessible 24/7 to youth who could seek shelter by walking in from the street, without the necessity of a custody order.  Per diem reimbursement was paid by the Department for Juvenile Justice and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.