Another important study was released yesterday: Youth in Crisis, an overview of the characteristic of homeless youth accessing the crisis shelter of New York’s Covenant House. The study was covered in the New York Times. Key findings regarding the youth:
- Experience of Violence. 47% reported experiencing physical discipline, 37% physical abuse, 19% sexual abuse, 19% being beaten with an object, and 41% witnessing violence in the home.
- History of Foster Care and Institutional Placement. 35% had a history of foster care or other institutional placement; they experienced an average of 3 placements and remained in care for an average of 4 years.
- Unemployment. 78% entered the shelter unemployed. Among those who were employed, 77% made $8/hour or less, and 44% had worked “off the books.”
- Low Educational Attainment. 68% lack a high school dipoma or GED, and 77% were not currently enrolled in school.
Locally, we know that about 6% of new individuals entering shelter in Springfield have had involvement with foster care or institutional placements.
The report mkes the point that early intervention is critical to prevent at-risk youth from becoming chronically homeles adults.