Who We Are


San Francisco Mental Health programs serve youth and families who are either Medi-Cal eligible, have experienced trauma or have had or are at risk of having involvement with the juvenile justice system. Services are provided at schools and other various locations citywide. Therapists work in collaboration with families to provide on-going support and assistance to youth through individual and family counseling, case management, and linkage to adjunct services.

What We Do

Our Mission

Youth Service Bureau (YSB) is a program of Urban Services YMCA and primarily focuses on behavioral health and family support services. Our mission is to support families in nurturing and developing connected, healthy and productive youth.  We do this by making mental health and social services affordable and accessible to families, schools and communities throughout San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.




We are the community mental health arm of Urban Services YMCA, specializing in counseling for youth and families, crisis intervention, prevention programs for at-risk youth, parent education and support, truancy prevention, and community resources linkage services.

​For 45 years, we have provided a continuum of services to help families address the challenges of growing up.  

  • The Pacifica Youth Service Bureau (PYSB) was the first of its kind in the country, opening its doors in 1969. 
  • The Youth Service Bureau in South San Francisco, the Community Resource Center of the YMCA (formerly known as North Peninsula Family Alternatives) and in San Mateo (formerly known as Project FOCYS) were opened in 1976.
  • The three locations have since merged with the YMCA of San Francisco and are now part of the Urban Services YMCA. In San Francisco county, we have been providing community and school-based mental health services around the city and at the Urban Services YMA branch since 2001.


The Community Resource Center of the YMCA​

The Community Resource Center of the YMCA provides individuals and families with basic emergency and support services to stabilize their living situations. We provide clients with crisis intervention and referrals based on an evaluation of their needs and qualifications for assistance. We provide a safety net of services to San Mateo County residents in need of food, emergency housing assistance, emergency utility assistance, shelter, and other basic needs. 

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What We Offer

We offer clinical counseling services in our three clinics in San Mateo County on a sliding fee scale and free to Medi-Cal and Victims of Crime (VOC) recipients. In San Francisco, we primarily provide free services to community members with Medi-Cal coverage. We also provide intensive services to juvenile-justice involved youth and also for those who experience chronic truancy.

  • In San Mateo County we work in over 50 schools across San Mateo and San Francisco counties providing on-site counseling and assessment; crisis intervention, on-campus violence prevention, and adolescent life skills/support groups. In San Francisco we work throughout the city on school campuses with permanent services offered on 11 of those sites.
  • ​We work as a therapeutic partnership with the San Mateo Department of Probation providing diversion counseling for first-time juvenile offenders, alternatives to incarceration and re-entry programs for youth in the juvenile justice system. In San Francisco we offer intensive clinical case management for probation-involved youth.
  • We are a clinical training center for Trainees and Interns working toward licensure in their professional fields of Social Work and Marriage & Family Therapy.  Annually we train more than 25 graduate students. 

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  • ​​​​Clinical Based: Individual, Couple and Family Counseling
  • Diversion / Probation: Family counseling for youth referred by community police departments for 10 sessions and management of additional services if recommended.
  • C.A.L.M: An anger management group for youth provided in the clinic and on campus.
  • First Stop / TRACK:  A substance abuse education and prevention program for youth who are first-time offenders.
  • Friendship Club: On-going socialization group for elementary-aged youth
  • Girls United: Group that teaches middle school-aged girls how to create healthy relationships and avoid making self-destructive decisions.
  • Juvenile Sexual Responsibility Program: Complete assessment and treatment program for male youth, ages 12-17 that have a documented or suspected history of perpetrating sexual abuse.
  • Parent Education Group Program: Ongoing/open Spanish speaking parent group.
  • School-Based Counseling: Individual and group counseling/crisis intervention.
  • Victim Impact Awareness Program: Group counseling co-lead with a juvenile probation officer. Seven-week closed group.
  • School Safety Advocate/TSCS Middle School: Individual and group counseling with case management for high-risk students at local middle schools.



YSB Trainee Program

The YSB Training Program has been in existence for over 30 years. We offer an intensive training program that helps support, nurture and train new therapists. The YSB Programs have several components in it's training program to prepare the therapist and develop/ enhance their professional growth.
The three key components of our training program are :

  • Training: Trainees begin with 5 days of training and orientation in August. This begins their foundation for the program by providing training on policies, procedures, crisis intervention, and paperwork. Trainings continue throughout the year with weekly mandatory trainings that enhance the trainees practicum learning experience.
  • Supervision: The clinical supervisors have licensed psychotherapists with backgrounds and training in individual, couple and family therapy. Individual and group supervision with case discussion is provided by one of our licensed supervisors. The agency recognizes and adheres to requirements for the supervision upheld by the Board of Behavioral Sciences and Ethical Standards upheld by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Supervision is a critical piece of the therapists training. It is an expectation that the staff comes to supervision prepared to talk about their clients, transference, counter-transference, interventions, treatment planning, and diagnosis every week.
  • Evaluation / Core Competencies: Twice yearly evaluation of trainee on their professional growth, challenges, and learning experience. The purpose of identifying core competencies is to assist staff to become skilled and successful psychotherapists. It is the goal of Urban that each staff will make adequate progress in achieving competency in all areas identified during their training with Urban.

Training Groups

  • Schools: The school based program focuses on working primarily with elementary and middle school aged children.Trainees work closely with the school administration and teachers to provide services to the youth.
  • Groups: Groups are conducted at the clinic as well as at the schools. Some of the groups that trainees facilitate are, C.A.L.M, First Stop, Social Skills and Girls United.
  • Clinic: We provide therapeutic counseling services to families, individual youth and adults.

Some of the presenting problems that trainees focus on in counseling are:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction
  • Anxiety And Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Violence/Anger Management
  • Adolescent Defiance
  • Family Communication
  • Social Skills
  • School Challenges
  • Grief and Loss
  • Trauma
  • Co-Parenting

To apply for a traineeship please submit a cover letter and resume to Annya Shapiro at ysbtraining@gmail.com.


Annya Shapiro

Annya is passionate about family work and training new clinicians to provide the best possible mental health care for the most vulnerable members of our community.


Margaret Hitchcock

Margaret has worked with youth and families with complex trauma through the majority of her career, working with inpatient and outpatient/community based youth involved with probation and foster care in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.  She believes that anti-racist and anti-oppression work is an essential part of trauma-informed care and believes in the abolition of incarceration as a solution for youth with problematic behaviors.