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Homeless Youth in Connecticut What did CT’s first Study reveal? What are next steps?

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Presentation on theme: "Homeless Youth in Connecticut What did CT’s first Study reveal? What are next steps?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Homeless Youth in Connecticut What did CT’s first Study reveal? What are next steps?

2 Youth who are homeless are often INVISIBLE INVISIBLE INVISIBLE INVISIBLE

3 I was a runaway teen at 14. I left the motel room where my mother and I stayed. In order to eat, I became a prostitute. I started “using” to numb all of the pain. I’ve been homeless for 5 years—I didn’t have any supports. I didn’t know where to go. I think if there were services at the time I became homeless I would be a high school graduate by now and probably beginning my sophomore year in college. If I had the right services I think my life would have been different. - Bre, age 19

4 Who are these kids?

5 Some facts No state system or institution owns this Limited crisis options Only 15 youth crisis beds in state Boys not allowed in many family shelters

6 Some facts Street outreach programs provided 5414 youth with food and 1774 youth with health and hygiene products in one year. Almost 200 children and youth identified by DCF as victims of prostitution from How many more are uncounted?

7 Some facts Didn’t know… -how many? -what are their experiences? -how to find them? -what services are needed?

8 Invisible No More: Findings & Advocacy From Connecticut’s First Study of Youth Who Are Homeless

9 Statewide Study released in December Derrick Gordon, PhD and Bronwyn Hunter, PhD, The Consultation Center, Yale University School of Medicine Interviewed 98 youth & conducted 16 key informant interviews &1 focus group Examine and understand youths’ experiences Identify needs Recommend ways to address systemic barriers

10 Demographics Place interviewed: –Bridgeport = 20 (20%) –Hartford = 40 (40%) –Lower Fairfield = 3 (3%) –New Haven = 29 (29%) –New London = 6 (6%) Gender: –53 Females (55%) –41 Males (42%) –3 Transgender (3%)

11 Demographics Race: –43 (49%) African American –22 (25%) Mixed Race –21 (24%) Caucasian –1 (1%) Asian –1 (1%) American Indian/Alaska Native Ethnicity: –33 (35%) Hispanic/Latino

12 Demographics Age = 18.9 (SD 2.5) –Range = 14 – 24 years Relationship Status: –69 (72%) single –21 (22%) partnered –5 (5%) living with partner –1 (1%) married

13 Demographics Sexual orientation: –75 (77%) heterosexual –14 (14%) bisexual –6 (6%) gay/lesbian –2 (2%) not sure

14 Educational Experience 25 (27%) received special education services 29 (32%) dropped out of school 10 (12%) reported school said they could no longer attend

15 Educational Experience Barriers: –Academics –Social awkwardness –Challenges with classmates Facilitators: –Supports at school –Completing high school –Close relationships with key personnel –Some financial support

16 Mental Health 23 (24%) considered suicide –14 (14%) made a plan and tried to commit suicide –9 (9%) tried 1 time –5 (5%) tried 2 or 3 times –6 (6%) reported that the attempt resulted in injury or poisoning Avg number of trauma experiences endorsed is 5 (SD 3) –61 (62%) endorsed three or more traumatic events

17 Finances 63 (66%) unemployed 34 (34%) employed –28 (82%) employed part time Income range $0 = $9, (67%) borrowed money (past year) 46 (47%) went hungry (past year) 25 (26%) want to seek medical care but couldn’t

18 Family of Origin 48 (51%) raised by mother 23 (24%) raised by mother and father Parent’s highest education –12 th grade n = 65 (77%) Contact with DCF = 52 (53%) –Of those, removed from home by DCF = 36 (37%)

19 Housing 48 (49%) youth had moved more than six times in their lifetime Kicked out of home by family at least one time = 57 (58%)

20 Places Stayed When Displaced Friends = 71 (72%) Other relatives = 76 (78%) Shelter = 42 (43%) Street/car/outdoors = 37 (38%)

21 Substance Use 59 (69%) tried cigarettes –Avg age of 1 st use was 14.4 years (SD 3.3) 75 (76%) tried alcohol –Avg age of 1 st drink was 14.7 years (SD 3.4) 60 (61%) used marijuana –Avg age of 1 st use was 14.1 years (SD 2.6)

22 Sexual Health 83 (85%) engaged in sexual intercourse –Avg age of 1 st intercourse was 14 (SD 3; range 8-23) 23 (24%) had 1 st sexual intercourse 12 or younger 53 (54%) had 1 st sexual intercourse 15 or younger

23 Sex Trading Traded sex for –7 (7%) money –8 (8%) place to stay –4 (4%) drugs or alcohol

24 Age and Sexual Health 12 and under15 and underTotal sample Drank/used drugs7 (30%)14 (26%)18 (19%) Condoms12 (53%)24 (45%)39 (42%) Birth control pills04 (8%)4 (4%) IUD2 (9%)3 (6%)3 (3%) Withdrawal1 (4%)1 (2%)3 (3%) No protection3 (13%)15 (28%)26 (28%) Not sure5 (22%)5 (9%)7 (8%) Traded sex for drugs2 (9%)2 (4%)4 (4%) Traded sex for place to stay5 (22%)7 (13%)8 (9%)

25 Court and Criminal Justice History 16 (17%) were referred for FWSN 47 (48%) were arrested 3 reported that they tried to stay incarcerated because of housing Difference in gendered referrals

26 - Complete study can be found here: eport.pdf - Questions?

27 INVISIBLE no more Study Recommendations: Create a planning task force Develop strategies to improve the point-in-time count by expanding the methodology used in gathering data and outreach to capture these young people Develop strategies that document the needs of these young people as they enter and exit state and community supports

28 INVISIBLE no more Study Recommendations: Increase housing resources Create a comprehensive crisis response system for those who are not involved in Connecticut state systems Create services to increase the educational outcomes for these young people

29 Opening Doors 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors: Improve access to education and educational outcomes of children and young adults experiencing homelessness Advance health and housing stability for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness and youth aging out of foster care and juvenile justice Obtain more comprehensive information on the scope of youth homelessness Meet the unique needs of unaccompanied youth - preliminary research-informed intervention model

30 USICH – Backbone to Opening Doors 2013 USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness 4 Core Outcome Areas Data strategy – Youth PIT, Data Systems Integration Capacity strategy - screening and assessment tools and effective interventions to improve youth outcomes, vulnerable subpopulations, implementing service strategies and evaluating those strategies

31 Opening Doors-CT Goals: Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness by Prevent and end homelessness among Veterans by Prevent and end homelessness among families, youth and children by Set a path to ending all homelessness.

32 Reaching Home Campaign Leadership structure for planning and oversight of Opening Doors-CT Statewide Steering Committee, Coordinating Committee, and six diverse Workgroups Annual planning process - data and estimated needs, administrative/programmatic/legislative recommendations Policy and advocacy strategy

33 Address the Immediate Safety Needs Fleeing abuse Separated from families Assaulted, victimized/sex trafficked Sleeping in hallways Not connected to formal supports Runaway from DCF Cost avoidance due to reduced criminal justice activity and reliance on government assistance

34 Immediate Next Steps 1. Restore $1M state funding to address immediate safety needs of kids in crisis (CGS 17a-62a) Outreach, drop-in, host home, respite options for immediate needs Limited longer term supports – transitional living to help with stability and inform service capacity planning Youth commitment to state services not required for support

35 Immediate Next Steps 2. Policy advocacy across state systems: Meetings with CSSD, DMHAS, DCF & SDE to address identification of youth with housing instability Training tools to use across agencies Initiatives to improve educational outcomes for homeless youth Initiatives to prevent homelessness for youth exiting child welfare

36 Planning Process Reaching Home Campaign (Opening Doors – CT) Reaching Home Campaign (Opening Doors – CT) Homeless Youth Workgroup Advocacy for Policy and Practice Change Planning Comprehensive Service Integration Planning Comprehensive Service Integration Data Integration Housing Supports & Services

37 Planning Process Housing -inventory the state’s current stock of housing options for homeless youth -assess the need for supportive housing for youth in Connecticut -Make recommendations for a continuum of housing options -Develop a triage & assessment tool to match youth with an appropriate level of housing

38 Planning Process Supports & Services -focus on developing services described in USICH Youth Intervention Model -four outcomes 1. stable housing 2. education/employment 3. permanency 4. well-being

39 Planning Process Youth Count & Data Integration -design data collection approaches that will provide regularized estimates of need -identify ways to better integrate data from agencies and systems serving youth who are homeless

40 Point-In-Time Count PIT Count – Identified 5 Unaccompanied Children -Strict definition of homeless limits the scope of what the PIT can accomplish Youth Count & Data Integration

41 2015 Youth Count -In conjunction with the 2015 PIT – an expanded homeless youth count to acquire data on the real scale of youth homelessness in Connecticut -Designing a methodology and data collection approaches Youth Count & Data Integration

42 End Product Blueprint for Change

43 Derrick M. Gordon, Ph.D. Director of Research, Policy & Program on Male Development The Consultation Center, Brian Roccapriore Director of HMIS and Strategic Analysis Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Stacey Violante Cote Chair, Youth Workgroup, Reaching Home Campaign, Alicia Woodsby Interim Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities,


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