The Beat: Self-sufficiency

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...

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 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 23, 2013

Photograph of a teen mother holding her baby.You may have seen the headlines last fall: Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that girls with below-average reading ability went on to become teen mothers nearly twice as often as girls with average reading ability. The finding was presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting last year and will be published in the paper “Pre-Teen Literacy and Subsequent Teenage Childbearing in a U.S. Population,” forthcoming in the February 2013 volume of the journal Contraception.

We wanted to know more, especially about what the correlation between low literacy and teen parenthood means for...

January 16, 2013

Photograph of a chef instructing an apprentice chef.As executive director of Worth Our Weight, a nonprofit culinary arts apprenticeship program in Santa Rosa, CA, Evelyn Cheatham has taught over 100 at-risk young people the skills to cook and manage a restaurant. Youth in the program plunge right in to the food service world. In addition to taking cooking classes and doing skills-building exercises, they cook and serve meals to paying customers every day at Café WOW.

That immersion has led to more than a job for at least one graduate. Last fall, an alumnus of the 7-year-old program invited Cheatham her to bring WOW’s current class of thirteen apprentices to visit the restaurant he now owns....

November 28, 2012

Cover of report, showing the face of a young African American child.More African American children than white children are born into poverty in the United States. That difference at birth leads to inequalities throughout a child’s life, according to “Portrait of Inequality 2012: Black Children in America.” Published by the Children’s Defense Fund, a child advocacy nonprofit in Washington, the report compares how African American and white children fare when it comes to childhood poverty, family stability, health, school readiness, education, employment and other factors.

To learn how youth workers can think about and address the...

November 14, 2012

Photograph of a young woman in a science lab with an adult mentor. Title card reads Credentials for Youth: Success in the 21st Century Economy.Do you want to help youth find a career that matches their goals and interests instead of landing just any job? If you answered yes, you’re in luck. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Youth Services recently added to its Youth Connects website a section called Credentials for Youth. The new Web pages help youth identify the skills they need to work in a number of growing industries.

We like this tool because of its step-by-step...

November 09, 2012

Image of report cover, Housing + High School = Success.When it comes to helping homeless youth finish high school, research has shown that stable housing plays an important role. But helping students who are on their own find and maintain safe, appropriate housing is easier said than done.

In a number of school districts across the country, educators, youth workers, policy makers and continuums of care for people experiencing homelessness are working together to make housing a reality for unaccompanied young people. The October 2012 update to “Housing + High School = Success,” a report first released by the National...

November 05, 2012

Photograph of a teen girl holding out a donations box.If you've ever bought a box of Girl Scout cookies or paid a high school softball team to wash your car, you know that young people bring an almost irresistible something to fundraising. At the same time, young fundraisers pick up important skills, like setting goals, planning ahead, working as a team and making the case for a cause.

Members of 360 Youth Services’ youth advisory board, in Naperville, IL, wanted to learn those skills raising money for activities and supplies for youth in the program, says Damir Djidic, transitional living program coordinator and advisor to the group.

“Adults tend to respond better to kids than other adults,” Djidic says. “They see...

October 31, 2012

One of the objectives of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness is to end youth homelessness by 2020. Here at NCFY, we want to help you understand how USICH aims to do that, in collaboration with federal, state and local government, and of course with programs that work directly with homeless young people.

A big step forward came in September when USICH unveiled a new “intervention model” for working with homeless youth who are on their own, apart from their families. Part of the 2012 amendment (PDF,2.17MB)  to the Opening Doors strategic plan to end homelessness, the model is meant to harness what we know about homeless youth from research. What makes them more or less likely to succeed in school and life or to have problems? The model will enable youth...

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