Programs & Services

The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter continues to grow and meet the needs of children and families in the community.  The services we provide not only help the children we serve while staying at the Shelter, but also provide support to families after a teen returns home. We offer parenting classes, counseling, educational programs for the community at large, as well as opportunities for teens to share valuable input so we can continue to respond effectively to the ever-changing needs in our community. We invite you to learn more about all the services we offer.

Please contact Kristy Ajax at to book a speaking engagement for your youth group or class room for children ages 10-17 .


new-safe-place-logoRunaway prevention and intervention services are provided to youth throughout the community through Project Safe Place.

Kids experience many difficult situations to include problems at home, problems at school, trouble with peers, being locked out of the house, riding with an unsafe driver, or being in a dangerous situation on a date. Kids also leave home for many reasons such as to escape abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol problems of family members, family members who make them leave or maybe they feel they just don’t belong. Many times leaving home is not a choice they want to make.

No matter what the reason, kids do have a safe alternative. They can go to any designated Safe Place site to get immediate help. It’s fast and it’s free!

Safe Place locations are youth friendly businesses, schools, fire stations, libraries, YMCAs and other appropriate public buildings that display the distinctive yellow and black Safe Place sign. Once the teen arrives at a Safe Place site they will contact us and we’ll move into action to help them.

Youth in crisis can text the word SAFE and their current location to the number 69866 and they will receive the address of the nearest Safe Place site to them.

Key Safe Place sites in our area include:

  • QuickTrip
  • Publix
  • YMCAs
  • Boys & Girls Clubs
  • All Gwinnett Public Libraries
  • Health Departments
  • Community Centers


The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter is a firm believer that the best place for a child to grow up is as a member of a safe, nurturing family.  To promote this goal, our agency provides on-site and in-home family counseling services to the families of youth that are in the shelter as well as to families seeking to avoid family disruption.

Family counseling services are provided as follows:

  • When youth who are not in the state’s custody enter the shelter their family must agree to participate in family counseling while the youth is in the shelter.  The focus of this counseling is to help families resolve the crisis that led to the child coming into the shelter, and enable the child to return home to their family setting.
  • When youth who were in DFACS custody are returned to their family’s custody after their shelter stay, our master’s level counselors work with the family in their home to help them learn new, positive parenting, communication, conflict resolution, and family management skills.  Our goal is to facilitate the family’s strengths, allowing them to remain stable and prevent future disruptions.
  • We also accept referrals from DFACS and the schools for assistance to families that are suffering serious conflict and discord that has not yet resulted in family disruption.  Our in-home therapists work with these families in their homes or on-site to assist them in moving through the crisis to family stability.


The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter offers free S.T.E.P. parenting classes to families in the community. Courses are available in both English and Spanish. While childcare is not provided, these classes are open to any parents interested in learning more about effective parenting skills. Advance registration is required for all classes.

To register or to learn more, call 678-546-8770

Parenting Classes in English
6:30-8:30 p.m.
@ Gwinnett Children’s Shelter


The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter is fortunate to have a strong, collaborative relationship with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). Shelter and GCPS staff work closely together to ensure each child’s educational needs are being met.  Most elementary aged residents attend public school.  While some middle and high school aged students may be able to continue to attend their home school during their time with us, the Shelter also offers a school on campus for those youth experiencing educational, emotional, or behavioral issues that seriously impact their ability to succeed in a public school setting.  For these youth, the shelter provides a structured school day based upon Gwinnett County school curriculum, designed to re-interest youth in learning and help them develop the academic skills and discipline necessary to be successful in a community school setting.

Other educational support we offer includes:

  • Tutoring and Homework Help – Through GCPS, tutoring is provided for any residential clients needing educational assistance. This program includes both remedial services and assistance with grade-appropriate concepts.  Tutors help clients fill in gaps often caused by frequent absenteeism and transferring of schools.
  • School Supplies – We provides clients with the school supplies they need so to promote normalcy and ensure their academic success.
  • Computer Lab – Because so much of today’s coursework is done via internet portals and online research, the Shelter provides a fully-equipped computer lab that connects our teens to the online resources they need to enable their learning.  We also offer educational enrichment and resource software to reinforce key skills and concepts.
  • General Education Diploma (G.E.D.) Program – The Shelter offers an assistance program for G.E.D. candidates that includes study guides, computer software, financial support for testing fees, and transportation support to classes and tests.
  • Life Skills Training – Shelter residents are given the opportunity to learn valuable life skills that help them become more self sufficient as they grow and mature.  During their stay with us they learn about conflict resolution, self respect, goal-setting, resume writing, interviewing, budgeting, banking, and more. They also learn household management skills as each are engaged in helping with chores around our “house.”


The campus of the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter offers full-court basketball, a soccer field, a softball field, a playground and nature trail that gives allows residents to fully enjoy the Shelter’s 40-acre campus.

Through strong community support, our youth also have opportunities to engage in various activities in the community.  For example, residents might be allowed to play on a sports team, pursue an art course, take music lessons, attend a local church youth group activity or enjoy summer camp.  Shelter supporters often pay for registration fees for these activities, as well as extend tickets to fun outings and enrichment events that our residents they may never experience otherwise.

If you are interested in enabling our residents to participate in enrichment activities or would like to donate tickets/passes to local special events please click here.


The Shelter’s Teen Advisory Board consists of high school youth that provide our agency with feedback and direction, giving our agency a strong youth voice about the services we provide. They also provide our residents with positive, fun interaction with other teens, as well as carrying out service projects throughout the community together.  Our Teen Board works hard to promote all the positive things that youth are doing in our community and are big part of the hope we give to our residents.  This Board is completely youth led.  They interview and select their own candidates, lead and carry out their own service projects and decide how the group operates on a day-to-day basis. Their engagement and contribution to our organization is invaluable.


The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter works with multiple agencies to insure quality care while in our Shelter. In an effort to meet the needs of these youth, many agencies participate in providing each child with the services they need to work through this transitional time in their life.