Our History

It took people who cared. In 1972, a group of caring parents, teachers and police officers came together in Fullerton to create what now is known as Western Youth Services. They believed that local youth struggling with behavioral or emotional issues deserved more compassion, additional access to treatment and a greater number of resources devoted just to them. This group of advocates for youth recognized that a gap existed. In response, they opened the Teenage Resource Center. There, teens found a safe place to hang out and much more. They had access to educational, counseling and crisis services.

The need for services grew. The Teenage Resource Center was renamed Western Youth Services (WYS) in 1979 as the need for services increased with community growth. By 1998, WYS extended services to reach all of Orange County by operating four clinics and 10 satellite locations.


Lifting limitations.  Enriching Futures. WYS is the leading expert in integrated mental health and wellness solutions for Orange County youth and families. Our more than 250 employees and interns include an experienced team of psychologists, psychiatrists, clinicians, mental health workers and administrative staff. A 9-member volunteer board of directors leads WYS.

WYS provides a range of mental heath services in clinics, homes, schools and various community locations to more than 15,000 children and families throughout Orange County. With this range, we’re able to aid parents directly and serve as a trusted ally in care. Teachers, school personnel, hospitals, doctors, law enforcement officers and other community sources refer at-risk youth to us.

Clients come to WYS for a variety of reasons. We see children and teens who act out – displaying aggression, bullying others and disrupting school classrooms and neighborhoods. Others have underdeveloped social skills, as demonstrated through acts of isolation or poor self-esteem. They are often struggling with a current life stressor, such as a death in the family, recent move or parent incarceration.

We’re here for all of them. After determining what’s right for them, WYS collaborates with families, school personnel and other care providers to develop goals and strategies tailored to their needs. We also provide individual, family and group therapy, in addition to medication management services, if needed.

Although we treat each client individually, families can expect to receive a standard of care:

  • We approach treatment services within the context of the whole person, always with a family focus.
  • Our program is needs-driven and strengths-based. We identify what each client needs, help them realize the strengths they have already and build upon these assets.
  • Services available include consultation, assessment, and individual, group and family treatment. We offer Evidence-Based Practices, such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Functional Family Therapy, case management and community referrals.
  • The length of service ranges from 8 weeks to 10 months, depending on intensity of needs. Most clients work with WYS for 2 to 5 months.