Refer a Child

Do you know a youth who is struggling? Contacting Mercy Home could save a life.

Mercy Home’s residential program is for youth between the ages of 11 and 24 who live in situations that place extra stresses on their health and progress. The common thread that connects our children to Mercy Home is that they have experienced trauma and that they are committed to changing their lives.

Mercy Home welcomes referrals of young people in need from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. We evaluate each referred youth for appropriate placement within our full-time residential programs. Our admissions process is designed to ensure that each youth who comes to live at our Home is best served by the resources we provide.

Mercy Home is committed to serving:

  • Youth ages 11-24 throughout the Chicago metropolitan area
  • Youth who voluntarily commit to and are motivated to engage in Mercy Home’s treatment program
  • Youth who would benefit from building healthy attachments and relationships
  • Youth who have experienced trauma and/or neglect, or who may have difficulty coping with stressors in their lives
  • Youth who present with moderate emotional, behavioral and psychological challenges
  • Youth who present with moderate educational and/or vocational challenges and/or may be struggling academically
  • Youth who would benefit from being temporarily removed from the home setting and may be in need of more intensive services that are not reasonably attainable in their community


Complete our referral form and one of our Admissions Staff will contact you.

If you are a young person or would like to refer someone in the Chicago metropolitan area to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, please call (312) 738-7590. An intake worker will answer your call Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. During off hours, all voicemail will be answered within one business day.

Please note: we do not provide an immediate response to messages sent through this form. Please use the following phone numbers for immediate assistance:

Emergency situations – 911
Emergency shelter (within Chicago) – 311
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline – (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

Admissions Process


Informational Session

At an informational session, we provide a detailed explanation of our program and ask some questions to get to know the youth and family seeking admission.

We know that when you care about a young person in need, you want him or her to be able to move into Mercy Home as fast as possible. We will do our best to communicate current space in the programs and an approximate timeframe for admissions throughout the process.


Review of Records

As part of the application process, we need to review key records for each applicant. We request these documents prior to conducting the in-person assessment.

Required Documents

Prior to Assessment

  • Release(s) of Information – consent to obtain any school, mental health, physical health, legal records (if applicable)
  • Complete hospital records if the youth has ever been hospitalized for behavioral or psychiatric reasons
  • Legal records (if applicable)
  • School records including:
    • Standardized test scores (Explore, Plan, ISAT, Terra Nova)
    • Unofficial school transcripts (including all earned credits & year in school)
    • Current class schedule with grades in progress
    • Copy of current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and/or 504 Plan (if applicable)
    • Attendance record (noting all absences and tardies)
    • Behavior records (detentions, suspensions, conduct reports, etc.)
    • Medical records (physicals, dental records, immunizations)

Day of Assessment

  • Proof of guardianship for youth under the age of 18, such as:
    • Social Security Card (youth)
    • Birth certificate (youth)
    • Adoption Paperwork/SSI/Adoption subsidies (for youth)
    • Proof of income (family) [paystub, taxes from year prior]
    • Health insurance (youth)
    • Driver’s license/state ID (youth and parent)
    • COVID Vaccination Card (youth)
  • Proof of income (family) [paystub, taxes from year prior]
  • Health insurance (youth)
  • Driver’s license/state ID (youth and parent)
  • COVID Vaccination Card (youth)


In-Person Assessment

During this three to four hour appointment, we conduct in-depth interviews with the applicant and their family. Brief academic testing may occur during this meeting as well.


Family Partnership Meeting and Shadow Night

The shadow night allows the applicant to spend the afternoon and evening at Mercy Home, meet the staff and other youth, and gain a first-hand experience of what it’s like at Mercy Home.


After all of our steps are complete, we decide whether Mercy Home is the most appropriate level of care for the youth.

If a young person is accepted, we will arrange a move-in date. Occasionally, we don’t have space in certain age groups. In this case, the young person will be assigned to an upcoming opening. We do our best to predict when space will become available.

Sometimes we determine that a young person needs a different type of program. For those who require a different level of care, we can recommend other agencies that can best address their needs.