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July/August 2013Vol. 14, No. 6Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs

Recognizing the need to provide services to homeless and runaway youth, Congress enacted the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act nearly 40 years ago. Each year, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families, produces a report outlining the status of activities and accomplishments of funded projects. The most recent report provides this information for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, in addition to highlighting FYSB's work to develop a framework to more precisely measure the effectiveness of projects.

Currently, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act—reauthorized by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008—funds three grant programs that provide community-based organizations and shelters in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. To ensure that programs effectively meet the needs of runaway and homeless youth, FYSB's Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Monitoring System assesses each program's services. The three programs include the following:

  • Basic Center programs that provide emergency shelter
  • Transitional Living programs, which offer longer-term care that helps prepare older youth for self-sufficiency
  • Street Outreach programs, which make contact with youth on the streets, with the goal of connecting them to services

FYSB developed a framework to help the Federal Government to more precisely measure the effectiveness of projects. The framework includes four outcomes: safety, permanent connections, well-being, and self-sufficiency. FYSB developed a set of indicators for each outcome, conducted a literature review on measuring the outcomes, and gathered 49 grantees to discuss key themes and data collection.

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 is available on the ACF website: (1 MB)