Runaway and Homeless Youth

Resources for Young Parents & Children Experiencing Homelessness

Young parents and their children make up a significant portion of families experiencing homelessness. About 25 percent of youth served in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Runaway and Homeless Youth Transitional Living Programs are pregnant/parenting,1 and about 27 percent of families in emergency shelters in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Options Study were headed by someone under age 25.2 Furthermore, approximately half of children in federally-funded emergency and transitional housing programs are under the age of six.3 Early experiences of homelessness can lead to developmental delays, poor educational outcomes, and social and emotional difficulties among young children. Parenting youth experiencing homelessness often need developmental supports for both themselves and their young children, as well as resources for economic self-sufficiency.

Given the importance, magnitude, and vulnerability of young parents and their children experiencing homelessness, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) developed a searchable list of resources to provide service providers and policy makers with information about ways to promote healthy development and wellbeing for this population. The following database focuses on key federal or federally sponsored resources about relevant federal programs, federal guidance, evidence-based and promising practices, early childhood supports, parenting supports, behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse), housing, employment, and education.

1Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System, 2014
2Abt Associates, 2013 (Age at the time of baseline data collection)
3Abt Associates, 2014 (PDF, 68 pages)