The Beat: Well-being

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 14, 2013

Photograph of Andra Tharp.Last week, we wrote about the dearth of teen dating violence prevention programs that have been shown to be effective. Attempting to fill the gap, especially for young people in high-risk urban communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed an initiative that targets middle-school students, their parents, their teachers and others.

Local health departments are leading 5-year demonstration projects to test the approach, called Dating Matters, in Oakland, CA, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Chicago and Baltimore. Each project includes evidence-based and evidence-informed curricula for 6th-, 7...

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 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 30, 2013

Photograph of a Native American teen girl.As we continue to learn more about the reasons young people may be sexually exploited, some researchers say Native American young women may be particularly at risk.

VAWNet, an online resource of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, in 2011 reviewed the research on Native women and sex trafficking (PDF, 781KB). The authors of the review point to a 2007 analysis of police records in Hennepin County, MN, which includes Minneapolis. Native women accounted for nearly a quarter of the prostitution arrests that year—a percentage more than 12 times their representation in the...

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 28, 2013

Book cover of Drugs: Shatter the MythsMarijuana is addictive. Adults who are hooked on cigarettes most likely started smoking as teens. Getting drunk or high could lead a teen to have unprotected sex. These are just a few facts about drugs that teens may not know.

National Drug Facts Week, which will be observed this year from January 28 to February 3, is an opportunity for youth workers to share with teens the truth about drugs and their consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, sponsors the weeklong campaign each year to shatter common myths so teens can make informed decisions. Here are some ways you and your youth can participate:

Chat with NIDA scientists....

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...

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