Family First has two primary goals: to prevent entry into foster care and to limit the use of congregate care when there are no identified treatment needs. In addition to these two overarching goals, there are a number of additional provisions that hold promise for improving outcomes for youth in the child welfare system, including those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness
Federal agencies and programs use different definitions to determine who is considered to be “homeless.” These definitions inform the total number of young people considered to be homeless — and therefore how much funding is allocated to serve them – as well as whether programs are allowed to use federal funding to serve individual youth.
Unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness face numerous legal barriers that often complicate their attempts to meet their basic needs and prevent them from obtaining assistance from state agencies and service providers who could otherwise help them. Further complicating matters is that many of these laws vary considerably on the state and local levels. This report reviews the status of current law in 13 key issue areas that affect the lives and future prospects of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness in all 50 U.S. states and six territories.
About 800,000 of the youth and young adults who experience homelessness in a year may also be victims of sex or labor trafficking in cities, suburbs, rural communities, and American Indian Reservations across the country. Some youth experiencing homelessness are even more vulnerable to trafficking than these incredibly high numbers suggest, and interviews with these youths illustrate some common themes and pathways.
Because we know that a systems approach to addressing youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness in America is critical, we have developed this Proposed System to End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. This resource is designed to provide a practical vision for local planning and collaboration and guide federal policymakers.
There is no plausible excuse for any child in America to experience homelessness. The National Network for Youth has solutions to address youth homelessness and human trafficking of youth; however, greater federal support is necessary to reach all vulnerable youth with needed prevention and intervention services. No child in the United States should face a night on the streets or become a victim of abuse or human trafficking.