The Beat: Runaway and Homeless Youth

February 15, 2013

Book cover of Almost Home, showing a young person wearing a hoodie.“Almost Home: Helping Kids Move From Homelessness to Hope”
by Kevin Ryan and Tina Kelley, with foreword by Cory Booker

The president of an international organization for homeless youth teams up with a New York Times reporter to tell the stories of young people who overcame homelessness. We think you’ll want to recommend this book to people you know.

Four years and eleven stays at a shelter for homeless teens. That’s how long it took for the teenaged Paulie to escape family abuse, drugs and homelessness and to follow his own path in kickboxing and restaurant work.

The ups and downs of Paulie’s story will be no surprise to...

February 13, 2013

Photograph of a young African American woman with young people training at computers behind her.Having the time to take a hard look at how you do things may seem like a luxury at youth-serving organizations. But a San Francisco foundation is trying to change that for a handful of nonprofits that serve runaway and homeless youth.

The John Burton Foundation’s Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project launched its yearlong Performance Management Training Series in 2011 with a cohort of seven programs serving counties with the highest rates of youth homelessness in southern California. The groups received professional development for staff, and training and coaching on the performance management approach to improving program quality. They also got $1,500 to spend on training,...

February 11, 2013

National Runaway SafelineLast month, Chicago's National Runaway Switchboard became the National Runaway Safeline. For nearly 40 years, the Family and Youth Services Bureau has funded the organization to be the federally designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth.

FYSB's Acting Associate Commissioner, Debbie A. Powell, recently wrote about the name change on The Family Room, the official blog of the Administration for Children and Families. Here's what she said about the long history between the Safeline and FYSB and the importance of the national communication system:

Every year, thousands of young people--and adults...

February 07, 2013

Report cover of Youth and Work, a Kids Count policy report. Photos show young people working on a car, on a building, and on writing.Youth employment is at its lowest point since World War II, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT, an initiative that tracks the wellbeing of children and youth in the United States. That finding might not surprise youth workers who’ve tried to find a job for a homeless young person, but “Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity” (PDF, 2.39 MB) has a lot to say about what we can do to turn things around for young people, especially the more...

February 04, 2013

In our latest podcast, we hear from Bill Martin, executive director of Waterford Country School, a Connecticut youth shelter that will soon finish the three-year implementation of the CARE Model. He talks about how this evidence-based practice enables Waterford to better serve youth.
Listen to the podcast.

January 31, 2013

Image of the book Girls Like Us.“Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale”
by Rachel Lloyd

In this memoir, a well-known advocate exposes the horrors of sex trafficking, and tells us what it will take to create a society that values and protects girls. NCFY read it, and we tell you why we think it’s a good read for youth workers.

Rachel Lloyd grew up in England with a depressive, alcoholic mother and her series of violent boyfriends. By 14, she had dropped out of school. Faking her age, she did factory work to keep a roof over their heads.

“The pressure to have a baby, at fourteen, already feels intense,” she writes in her memoir “Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where...

January 29, 2013

Photograph of a young woman looking thoughtful.The young woman first contacted Bellefaire JCB, a social service agency in Cleveland, complaining of a toothache. Later, she returned because she’d received a card about the organizations’s trafficking program from the team that responded to her call. Letting her approach the program on her own terms was key to getting her in the door, says Karen McHenry, director of homeless youth and street outreach programs.

“Some of the kids aren’t ready to come in,” she says. “We get many calls on our homeless youth hotline every day, but it’s whether the teen feels they can really trust us and that we can help get them to a different situation that matters the most."

McHenry says a young...

January 25, 2013

Image of computer generated maps stacked on top of each other.Using GIS to Enhance Programs Serving Emancipated Youth Leaving Foster Care” (abstract), Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 35, No. 1 (2012).

What it’s about: Researchers at the University of South Florida wanted to see if computer mapping could help youth workers find appropriate housing for youth about to live on their own. Using geographic information systems, or GIS, technology to present information visually, the authors identified low-cost, bus-accessible housing options that would support the educational goals and parenting needs of transitioning youth.

Why read it: Many...

January 24, 2013

At the 2012 Pathways to Adulthood conference in New Orleans, NCFY interviewed youth workers from all over the country to get their perspective on two questions: "What's your community doing to fight youth homelessness?" And, "What help do you need to keep fighting youth homelessness?"

Today we're proud to share five of those responses in a new video series. From rural towns to big cities, these are on-the-ground views of the reality of youth homelessness and the best efforts against it. We hope these videos will spur a discussion, so join us on Facebook and Twitter to tell us your own perspective: What is your community doing, and what does your community need to fight youth homelessness?

The series starts with Jeff Allen from Youth and Family Services in Watonga...

January 22, 2013

Photograph of a red balloonIn our latest podcast, we talk to Dr. Carl Lejuez, a University of Maryland researcher who uses a video game to study why and when people take risks. We asked about his findings and their implications for traumatized youth.

Listen to the podcast.

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