Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Family Conflict and Violence
Youth experiencing homelessness and runaway youth consistently identify family conflict as the primary reason for homelessness and they experience more conflict at home than their peers.1 These youth experience higher rates of serious violence,2 child abuse, and neglect.3
- Research suggests that it is longstanding issues of conflict, not one issue that arises before leaving home,4 that cause the most serious problems.
- Almost 90 percent of runaway youth in shelters run by the Family Youth Service Bureau (FYSB) and 75.5 percent in residential programs reported family dynamics as critical issues leading to their homelessness.5
- Youth affected by homelessness experience high rates of physical and sexual abuse. Rates of sexual abuse tend to cluster in a range from 21 percent to 42 percent among youth who experience homelessness, significantly higher than the estimated one to three percent in the general population.6
- Additionally, 41 percent of youth attribute running away to poor relationships with parents, while only 7 percent of parents report the same.7
Prevention efforts to minimize family conflict and violence may include family-focused prevention programs including support groups for parents, parenting skills classes, and conflict resolution skills.8
Homelessness Resource Center: Homeless Populations
The Homelessness Resource Center, supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is an interactive community of providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers, and public agencies at federal, state, and local levels. The Center shares state-of-the-art knowledge and promising practices to prevent and end homelessness through the following:
- Training and technical assistance
- Publications and materials
- Online learning opportunities
- Networking and collaboration
The Center includes a section focused specifically on youth.
Chapin Hall: Young People Experience Significant Disruption and Loss Both Before and During Their Homelessness
This report from Chapin Hall discusses findings from the largest qualitative study done with youth experiencing homelessness, looking into the hardships that occur before and during homelessness.
1 Whitbeck et al., 2002
2 Whitbeck et al., 2002
3 Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007;
4 Whitbeck et al, 2002
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008
6 Greene et al., 2002; Whitbeck et al, 2002
7 Sayfer, Thompson, Maccio, Zittel-Palamara, & Forehand, 2004
8 Toro, Dworsky, & Fowler, 2007
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