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Strengthening Teens Enriching Parents (STEP) Program

Every year, hundreds of youth are reported missing to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). A significant number of these youth have multiple Missing Person’s Reports (MPRs) and leave home due to: 

  • Family conflict 
  • Peer influences 
  • Unaddressed mental health issues 
  • Adverse experiences 
  • Sex trafficking, and other reasons 

Dealing with this stark reality, the District’s child-serving government agencies and community partners came together and responded with a unified voice: One missing youth is one too many. 

The Strengthening Teens Enriching Parents (STEP) program works with youth up to 17 years old who are reported missing to the MPD.  Case managers provide outreach to assess why the youth has left home and, together with the family, implement services with community partners and other District agencies to reduce the likelihood of future MPRs and increase family stability.   

  • Housed within the Department of Human Services (DHS), Youth Services Division (YSD), the STEP program was created in September of 2017 in partnership with the MPD, and the District’s child-serving agencies Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), Court Social Services (CSS), Office of Attorney General (OAG), Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), Sasha Bruce Youthwork, and together work to stabilize families and break the cycle of youth leaving home. Sasha Bruce Youthwork, the key community-based provider for the STEP program, delivers respite care and an in-home family strengthening program to support this work.  

Participation in the STEP program is voluntary and lasts for up to 6 months depending on the needs of the youth and family. While participating in the program, youth receive case management and a range of services based on the youth’s and family’s needs, including, stabilization services, temporary housing for youth, mentoring, mediation, and behavioral health interventions. 


Referrals to the STEP program can only come through the MPD.
If you have questions about the STEP program, please send an email to [email protected] 

Contact Phone: (202) 698-4334 Monday through Friday 8:15am-4:45pm 
Contact Fax: (202) 478-5747 
Contact TTY: 711