Category Archives: street kids

A Few Street Kids

Wikipedia defines “street children” this way:

Street children or street urchins are homeless children who live on the street – in particular, those that are not taken care of by parents or other adults. Street children live in abandoned buildings, containers, automobiles, parks, or on the street itself.

That is in contrast to children that are homeless that are living in shelters or taking refuge with friends or relatives.    Below are a few pictures of street kids taken by various photographers around this country who have posted them under a creative commons license.

Market Street, San Francisco

Photo complements of davitydave Photo taken on Market Street, San Francisco.  Creative Commons License   Find it Here

Haight Street San Francisco

Photo Complements of kristiewells Photo taken on Haight Street San Francisco.  Creative Commons License   Find it Here

kristiewells says this about the photo: “We gave them our leftovers from Pork Store Cafe. I asked if I could take their picture which they said was OK, but they were so happy to be eating, I didn’t want to disturb them to get a better photo. ”

Homeless in Austin Texas
Photo Courtesy of  dground Photo taken on Sixth Street in Austin Texas Creative Commons License  Find it Here

Homeless in Minnesota

Photo from The Epoch Times, Minnesota

They had this to say about the picture and runaway kids:

According to a recent statewide survey of homeless people in Minnesota, conducted by the Wilder Research Center, for most youths, going back to live with their parents is not a viable solution. Their homeless plight started as a result of their parents. Fearing their chemically dependent or physically or sexual abusive parents, many youths would rather endure the life on the streets than return home. Many have already lived in foster care, detention or treatment centers.

Dave Eha, a 21-year-old homeless youth for the last six months said, “For many out here, it isn’t like a choice. You would hear all the time how someone was molested or physically abused. Many of the kids are forced to become homeless or else live in an abusive situation.”

The Wilder Research report found that homeless kids were:

Five times more likely to have been treated for alcohol or drug problems, although homeless youths are half as likely to report current use of alcohol.

More than three times more likely to have been hit by a date or intimate partner.

Three times more likely to have been physically abused

For girls, 20 times more likely to have been pregnant; for boys 10 times more likely to have had a sexual relationship that resulted in pregnancy.

Youth of color are three to four times more prevalent among the homeless.

Come ON folks, these could have been your kids.

Find a way to help.

Oldtimer

How Homeless Youth Earn Money

HOW THEY EARN MONEY

This is an interesting study out of Canada.   It was aired as part of “The First Edition” by CBC News in 2004.  Despite it being 3 years old, I think the data has changed little over time.   I also think the data would also apply to homeless youth almost anywhere in the world.

 In 1999, the most comprehensive study about how street kids making their money was conducted by the Shout Clinic which offers health care to homeless youth. Among the findings:

· 36%   of street youth earn money by panhandling or squeegeeing
· 19%   do break and enters or sell drugs
· 18%   receive social assistance
· 17%   by have paid employment
· 10%   do sex trade work

Some find legitimate work: Homeless youth had worked at an average of 3.1 legitimate jobs in the previous 12 months mainly in general labour, painting, welding, as bike couriers, cooks, cashiers, telemarketing, in baby sitting and retail sales.

Most have worked in the sex trade: 31% – including men and women – reported engaging in either street prostitution, phone or Internet sex, or massage/stripping at least once in their lives. Agencies like Street Outreach Services (SOS) focus on helping street youth out of prostitution.

Background determines how youth earn money: On average, sex workers left home at a younger age, had been on the street the longest, were most likely to have grown up in at least one foster homes, had the lowest educational credentials and left home because of problems pertaining to both physical and sexual assault.

In contrast, those who did property crimes or sold drugs were predominately male, were likely to have grown up in Toronto and were least likely to have experienced physical or sexual assault at home.

Would they like to work? When asked if they would like to find paid employment, 83.4% of males and 87.8% of females said yes. This indicates that street youth are unhappy about making money the way they do and would like paid employment instead.

Asked more specifically about under what conditions they would find accept a job:

· 53.7%   said they would take any job if paid $20 an hour
· 35.5%   would do just about any job
· 51.8%   felt that any job was better than welfare
· 18.7%   felt they would rather take welfare rather than a job they didn’t like
· 18.%    said they would not mind being unemployed for awhile

Again, these results suggest a majority of street youth want a job, although they were not willing to accept any job offered.

When asked what was preventing them from getting jobs, reasons cited included:

· 45.2 %  no fixed address    
· 43.3%   lack of work experience 
· 44.5%   no phone     
· 40.2%   no money for transportation for job search    
· 34.7%   don’t have the right clothes or appearance   
· 21.3%   legal problems   
· 21.3%   lack of motivation  

· other problems which included waking up and keeping a schedule, health, and literacy problems.

Most young homeless people were optimistic they would find work, with 46.6% very hopeful, and 35.7% somewhat hopeful.

Las Vegas Homeless Youth Survey

More than 1,700 kids homeless in Vegas

The data for this post came from this news story:  Las Vegas Homeless Youth Survey

 A survey of homeless youth in Las Vegas in 2006 revealed that of the 1700 kids living in Vegas:

75-percent are between the ages of 15 and 17.
25-percent were born in Las Vegas.
66-percent have parents still living in the valley.

Runaways – One out of three homeless teens say they left home to escape physical, sexual or mental abuse. 

Throwaways – More than one out of five were kicked out by their parents

Gangs – More than a third are involved with gangs.

                                                                                                          

 Love, Pure Love

It is so very unfortunate that so many kids find the streets more hospitable than their homes.   It is a rough life out there and most kids don’t know what they are getting into.  Many do go back home, and too many are driven away again.   What they want is love, what they get is trouble.  They have a love well that is empty, and what they often find is what they left, someone digging that well deeper rather than filling it up.

Parents seldom recognize that a child might actually run away rather than just threaten.  

 I can tell you this:  when a child shows any emotional signs of distress or rebellion or becomes surly and possibly depressed, it is time to turn on the love.  Pure love, no comments, no criticism, no questions, no reaction to anything the child says other than love.  A big hug, a giant hug, a verbal commitment:  “I love you son.”  “I’m here for you son.” 

Meet them at the door with a hug, see them off with a hug, give no response to cutting remarks other than “I love you.”  

If your child begins to taunt you and you snap back in kind or threaten, then you are driving a wedge that will be hard to remove.   The only answer to taunts is love – nothing said other than “I love you son” or “I love you daughter”.   In less than two days, your child will come around.   Their first reaction is to stare, then to test, then to question, then to melt.  

Love, pure love is the answer.

More on this later.  I have a first person account for you.

Oldtimer

Click for all homeless youth articles

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Or here for everything

National Stats for Runaway Youth

The National Runaway Switchboard provides education and solution-focused interventions, offers non-sectarian, non-judgmental support, respects confidentiality, collaborates with volunteers, and responds to at-risk youth and their families 24 hours a day.    Call 1-800-RUNAWAY
National Runaway Switchboard http://www.nrscrisisline.org/
(Statistics reflect only actual crisis calls – nationwide)
Adult calls ….. 1038
Youth calls …..15126
Total calls ….. 16164
Youth Status at Time of Call

    Contemplating running away…..12%
    Youth in crisis ………………..32%
    *Runaway ………………..48%
    *Throwaway ………………..4%
    *Homeless ………………..4%
    **Youth on the street ….. 56%

Reported Age Of Caller

    under 12 …..1%
    12 ………. 2%
    13 ………. 6%
    14 ………. 9%
    15 ………. 15%
    16 ……….21%
    17 ……….23%
    18 ……….10%
    19 ……….. 6%
    20 ……….. 4%
    21 ………. 3%
    Youth previously run (yes) …. . 32%
    youth previously run (no) ………. 44%
    unknown ………………………………..24%

Problems Identified by Callers

    Family Dynamics ..29%
    Peer/Social ……………… 14%
    School/Education ……..10%
    Mental Health …………. .. 9%
    Physical Abuse ……… … 6%
    Youth Services ……….. . . 5%
    Alcohol/Drug Use …… …5%
    Economics ……………….. 4%
    Emotional/Verbal Abuse 4%
    Judicial System ………….3%
    Transportation ……………….3%
    Health ………………………… 3%
    Sexual Abuse/Assault …..2%
    Neglect ……………………………2%
    GLBTQ …………………………..1%

Whereabouts of Youth Who is the Subject

    Home ………………….29%
    Unknown to Caller ….. 23%
    Friend ……………………..17%
    Relative ……………………..6%
    Street/Pay Phone ………6%
    Shelter ……………………..3%
    Other …………………………3%
    Unknown to Liner ……..3%
    Greyhound ………………..2%
    Recent Acquaintance …2%
    Police/Detention …………2%
    School ………………………..2%
    Work ……………………………1%
    Pimp/Dealer ………………..1%

(Example) Calls from Georgia, local area codes follow
Area ………….calls
Code
404 GA ….. 1053 calls in 2006
678 GA ……..320
770 GA ……. 578

Click for All Homeless Youth Articles 

Common Myths About Youth Homelessness

Myth: IT’S FUN. Youth on the street may say it is completely their choice to be homeless. They may say they just want to hang with their friends. This is a good way to maintain dignity or avoid talking about personal issues. When trust is built with someone who is really able to provide help, the stories of sexual abuse, abandonment, and other trauma invariably come out. Life on the streets is anything but fun. It is a constant looking over your shoulder, guarding all your belongings from theft, looking for food, dry clothing and shelter, and continually feeling insults and nasty looks from passers by.

Myth: MOST ARE RUNAWAYS Many youth run away from home, and many runaway reports are filed with the police. Few of those runaways stay out for more than one or two nights and fewer still become homeless. Only 2-8% of youth served in homeless youth shelters have a runaway report filed on them.

Myth: YOUTH DON’T WANT SERVICES. Most youth do want help.  They want to have a normal life, go to school, start a career, develop relationships.  They just don’t know how with the limited resources available to them.  Many services are difficult or impossible to access without a parent’s signature, proper identification, medical insurance, etc. Others have long waiting lists.

Waiting lists are difficult to use when the youth are moving around each night. Many homeless youth are distrustful of adults and social services.  As much as they want a better life, they may be afraid to engage in services or cynical about the likelihood of getting real help. They have been let down a lot. But if trust can be slowly built, most do engage in services when they are available, and often do very well.

The above items were found on the Seattle Human Services Website.

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click for all Homeless Youth articles

RECOGNIZING HOMELESS CHILDREN AND YOUTH COMMON CHARACTERISTICS

The following 55 characteristics of homeless children and youth help educators and service organizations recognize homeless children and youth.  Often they are in classrooms, including Sunday School, hungry, perhaps malnourished even, and always tired.   They probably have not acknowledged that they are homeless.  Often they are told not to.   These characteristics are clues that something is very wrong and needs looking into so that help can be given.   If any student or child exhibits more than a few of these characteristics, it could be because they are homeless, perhaps living out of cars or other inappropriate conditions.

Depression/Anxiety
Poor/Short attention span
Aggressive behavior
Withdrawn
Unwilling to socialize at recess
Anxiety late in the day
Lying about where the parents are or where they are living
Protective of parents/Covers for parents
Poor self-esteem
Developmental delays
Fear of abandonment
Disturbed relationships
Difficulty making transition
Difficulty trusting people
Old beyond years
School phobia (want to be with parent)
Need immediate gratification
Unwillingness to risk forming relations with classmates and teachers
Clinging behavior
Poor health/Nutrition
Skin rash
Respiratory problems
Increased vulnerability to colds and flu
Unattended dental needs/ Unattended medical needs
May lack immunization records
Hunger
Hordes food at snack time
Poor hygiene
Lack of shower facilities/Washers etc,.
Wears same clothes for several days
Inconsistent grooming-well groomed one day, poorly groomed the next day
Transportation/Attendance problems
Numerous absences
Does not participate in field trips
Does not participate in after-school activities
Does not attend school on days when students bring special treats
Parents do not attend parent-teacher conferences, open houses, etc.
Parents unreachable
Lack of continuity in education
Gaps in skill development
Mistaken diagnosis of abilities
Difficulty adjusting to new school
Many different schools in a short time span
Does not have personal records needed to enroll
Poor organizational skills
Poor ability to conceptualize
Lack of privacy/Personal space after school
Fatigue
Incomplete, missing homework (not place to do homework or keep supplies)
Withdrawn/Unable to complete special projects (no access to supplies)
Loss of books and other supplies on a regular basis
Refusing invitations from classmates
Concern for safety of belongs
Lack of basic school supplies
Inability to pay fees

The above list came from the Texas  State Compensatory Office

Oldtimer Comment:  Click here for all Homeless Youth articles.

Youth Homelessness Defined

Many states use the following, or very similar descriptions as guidelines to determine those situations in which a child or youth can be considered homeless:

A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter for the homeless (including family shelters, runaway youth shelters, and domestic violence shelters);

A child or youth sleeps at night in the home of a friend or relative because the child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence;

A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter awaiting institutionalization, adoption, foster care, or other placement;

Runaway chldren or children who are abandoned; or,

A child or youth sleeps at night in a car, tent, an abandoned building, or other place not ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings.  Migratory children and unaccompanied youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) may be considered homeless if they meet the above definition.

Notice that educators must make a subjective decision about whether a child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence.  This requires that an educator must make a judgment based on the specific circumstances of a child or youth’s living situation.

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for all the homeless youth articles

Note: this information is available on most school and state websites with slight variations.   The above was combined from three such websites.

Still on the Road (words of a homeless youth)

Still on the Road   This has excerpts from a long posting by a a homeless boy writing from a library.  He is 15 now.  Links to the full article are at the bottom.

My name is Larry and I was 14 when I ran away from home. My mom and I argued constantly. One night it got so bad that she started hitting me. I couldn’t take it any longer and I had to get out of there.It was 2:00am when I opened my window and jumped out. When my feet hit the ground I ran as fast as I could. I was a little chubby then so I couldn’t run very fast but fast enough to get away. I went to a nearby highway going south and I started to follow it. I hitched a ride with some truckers who let me off somewhere in Ohio. I had no money so I had to steal food to eat. I had no where to go so I just kept walking. At night I wrapped up in the blanket I brought and slept in the deep ditch that I had been walking in.One day a police car pulled up beside me and a cop got out. He asked me where I was going and I said I was going to the next exit. That I had just got back from a sleepover and I was walking home. He told me to get in and I did. He pulled off on the next exit and asked me where my house was. I directed him to a nearby neighborhood. He asked which house and I looked around for a house that looked empty. I told him it was a house that looked as if no one was there. I got out of the car and he did too. He wanted to talk to my parents. I went up to the house and knocked hoping no one was there. I told the officer that my mom was at work. He gave me a long glare and said to keep off the highway. He back into his partol car and drove off. The instant he was out of sight I ran as fast as I could.From then on I took side roads. I went through people’s trash for food and slept anywhere I thought it was somewhat safe. 

(…)

One thing was clear though is that my mom didn’t make a bug effort to find me and I could never go back there.I am now currently sitting in a library typing this up. I am still on the run and probably always will be. I celebrated my birthday on the streets and I’m 15 now.I have to go now but I want to tell you all out there reading this that running away is a big mistake. If you want to throw your life away then run away but be aware that it is rough.  And some people may not be as lucky as me. I never got into drugs or drinking and that’s why I think I was able to survive for so long.
Good luck,
Larry

 Read the rest of this story

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

scared to say anything and about to give up

scared to say anything and about to give up

Oldtimer’s note:  This was copied without permission from the NRS.  I plan to ask, but I’m hoping the end justifies the means.   Meantime, visit their site.  There are a lot of links on this site in my previous post in case you find this article standing alone somewhere.

Find this NPR call for help on this bulletin board:  

I’m 12 years old and live with my step dad and my mom. My step dad hits me and does other things to me. I had told my mom and all she tells me is that its my fault for i should behave and he wouldn’t do that.I’m scared to sleep at night cause he comes in my room. thought about running away and I’m thinking about suicide actually I’m not thinking I’m planning it. I just can’t handle this anymore. I know or actually i feel its my fault so maybe i should get rid of the problem and that problem is me. I could really use some help from you people responding to me. thank you for listening to me

Reply from NRS

Thank you for contacting the National Runaway Switchboard. It sounds like a really difficult situation for you at home right now. There are several agencies out there willing and wanting to help youth in your position. 1)RAINN (RAPE ABUSE INSEST NATIONAL NETWORK) 1-800-656-4673 2) NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE 1-800-273-TALK. Both of these hotlines are 24 hours a day, just like ours at 1-800-RUNAWAY. We are ALWAYS here to listen, not blame or judge just listen. If there is ever a time that you want to talk please feel free to call one of the hotlines. Best Wishes

Scared Answers:

thank you i had called and now i’m in a safe place. i thank you for those numbers. but is it normal to still be scared about everything still?

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

National Runaway Switchboard

Organization Overview

Runaway Switchboard gifThe National Runaway Switchboard, established in 1971, serves as the federally-designated national communication system for homeless and runaway youth.  Recognized as the oldest hotline of its kind in the world, NRS, with the support of more than 150 volunteers, has handled more than three million calls in its 35-year history and handles an average of 100,000 calls annually.  NRS provides crisis intervention, referrals to local resources, and education and prevention services to youth, families and community members throughout the country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Over 10,000 youth have been reunited with their families through NRS’ Home Free program done in collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc.  The NRS crisis hotline is 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786 -2929) .

You can read transcripts of calls from runaways and potential runaways (names and exact locations hidden for privacy) and the responses from NPR and others on their bulletin board site.  You can also download promotional materials (posters and booklets) in English and Spanish and articles and newsletters, and other information.     

I will be publishing more on/from this site in the near future.  They provide an invaluable service.  If you look through the bulletin board and listen to the cries for help. you will understand more of what kids are going through and how what looks like small problems often become big and life changing issues. 

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click for all Homeless Youth Articles

Understanding And Preventing Teenage Runaways

In looking across the web for advice on troubled teens, I found this useful article.  It has good advice!    Only the opening paragraph and the topics are reproduced here, but there is a link at the bottom for the entire article.

One of the greatest fears that parents can experience comes when they discover that their child is missing or has run away. Parents will experience a range of emotions. The stress of the situation and the different ways in which parents, family, friends and police respond can reach crisis proportions and create further crisis within a family.

The Difference Between a Runaway Child and a Missing Child

Motivations of a Runaway

Warning Signs of a Potential Runaway.

Communication That Helps Prevent Runaways

Steps You Can Take That Will Help Reduce the Risk of a Runaway

Note: this is a long and well written article that may be able to help you understand and help your troubled teen.   I am in no way recommending this site other than for you to read the information in this article.  Although I find no fault with the underlying site, I have no way of determining its credibility.   You are missing the greater part of the above article  unless you Click Here .  

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

The Top 10 Reasons Why Kids Have Run Away

Rebecca's CommunityThis list was prepared by Dominic Mapstone, founder of Rebecca’s Community, which provides shelter and services for homeless and runaway youth in Sydney Austrailia.    He also founded the International Homeless Forum.The Rebecca’s Community Website is hereYou can find this list here:You can find the homeless forum here: (Dominic’s audience is kids who come to Rebecca’s Community website  for information)
The Top 10 reasons why other kids have run away are:

1. Kicked out – Mostly the reason why kids leave home isn’t because they ‘runaway,’ it is because they get kicked out.
2. Sexual Abuse – someone in your house is made to do sexual things, maybe you.
3. Violence – someone in your house gets hurt a lot, maybe you.
4. Alcohol or Drugs – someone in your house drinks alcohol lots or uses drugs to get high.
5. Verbal Abuse – people yell or scream at you all the time.
6. Neglect – you don’t get basic stuff other kids do, like food or it may be as if you aren’t even there and no one cares about you.
7. Crime – someone in your house does crime like stealing from people or beating them up.
8. Stress – someone is always on your case putting pressure on you to do something all the time like cleaning up or doing your homework.
9. School – you get bullied at school and can’t put up with it anymore or you get in really big trouble at school and just can’t go home because of what might happen when your parents find out.
10. Someone is Gone – this could be because they died, or your parents get divorced or separated. It also could be an older brother or sister moved out of home.

If you know of an at-risk kid or a runaway kid, try to point him/her to the Rebecca’s Community website (link above) or the Runaway Switchboard or call the switchboard at 1 800 RUNAWAY.  (Rebecca’s Community and Runaway Switchboard are unrelated organizaitons).

Oldtimer’s comment:  Click for All the Homeless Youth articles

Homeless Youth and Drugs – In a Street Kid’s Own Words

To zone in on the problem, let me introduce you to a 17 year old girl, currently hom

This is a real person posting on a homeless forum. She lives in Australia. I suspect other than the street name for paint sniffing (“chromers”), the problem is the same anywhere in the US.   I’ve changed her screen name to protect her privacy even more.

“Sally” is discussing homelessness with other homeless people.

Quote:

“On the streets drugs are all around you, always being offered to you, people always walkin around smashed.  I’d like to see anyone live on the streets and not take drugs at some point, I really do think that’s impossible.  

Hey, I don’t like drugs, but sometimes it’s really hard not to take them.  Most people on the streets have some degree of depression, and sometimes your resilience gets low.  Amongst the homeless youth population in Brisbane I think the main substance of choice is paint. Cheap, easy to nick, and a quick high.

When you’re feeling like s— and all your friends are sniffing and trying to get you to, offering you fills, and life is crap for you at that point, it’s very hard not to just give in and take it.  Sure, it kills your brain cells, but who cares about that when you’ve got nothing much to live for anyway?

“You say you can’t stand it, but I don’t think you really understand what it’s like to be on the streets, what those kids who sniff have gone through, what they’re trying to escape from by getting high.  These kids cope with life BY sniffing.  That’s how they get through. And sometimes that’s how I get through too.

“I’m not going to get addicted to it, I won’t let myself, and I know there are other ways of coping, but when paint is pushed on you when you’re feeling down it’s very easy to just get high.

“Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, but I hate how lots of people out there just think that kids who sniff are just a bunch of trouble makers running around mugging people and ruining their own lives, without stopping to think about the s— they’ve gone through to be sniffing in the first place, about whether if they were in those kids position they would be able to stop themselves sniffing.  Not that I’m saying that you think that about sniffers.”

Are drugs a problem for homeless youth? You bet, and we need to get these kids off the streets.  Sally is in a shelter now.  In later posts she is going through detox, so her protestation abut not going to get addicted is in vain.  

You will find a link to the homeless forums in the right hand column.  Anyone can read, anyone can join.  Free, and a real education.

Mayo Clinic LogoFor information you can give your kids about paint inhalants: Mayo Clinic.

This article is only one of more than 30 posts on homeless youth .  In addition there are more than 60 homeless veteran articles.   If you are interested in more, click one of these links.  Thank you for coming by.  Please consider adding me to your feed (see link below my picture.)  

Oldtimer

Homelessness Among Children and Youth – Basic Facts

Homeless Baby Activity CenterDid you know that children make up 39% of the homeless population and 42% of these children are under 5 years of age?   (Note the baby activity center in the homeless camp picture ).  Children under about 12-14 are most often part of a homeless family, usually with only one parent present.   There have been instances of children as young as 9 living on the streets without any relative present, but thankfully,  below about 13, it is rare.  

According to state departments of education across the country, 35% of homeless children lived in shelters, 34% were in group situations with family or friends, and 23% were in motels or other places in 2000. 

Homeless children and youth face a number of problems.  These include developmental problems, abuse and neglect, lack of effective education,  among others.     The National Law Center created a report in June 2006 summarizing basic facts about our homeless youngsters.  

The data mentioned here can be found in its entirity here (5 pages plus 4 pages of citations): 

Developmental Problems

Lack of a stable living situation can be mentally and physically harmful to children and youth.

Homeless infants are four times more likely to require special care at birth than other infants.   Toddlers who are homeless usually develop at a slower pace than those who have stable homes.   Homeless children are twice as likely to have a learning disability and are three times more likely than other children to have emotional or behavioral problems

33% of runaway youth state it was because of sexual abuse, while 50% report it was due to physical abuse.   Sheltered homeless children have twice as many ear infections, five times more gastrointestinal problems, six times as many speech problems, and four times as many have asthma.  

 Abuse and Neglect

25% of the adult homeless population report having experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as a child by someone with whom they lived.   Homeless children are physically abused at twice the rate of other children.  

33% of the adult homeless population report running away from home as children and  27% report living in foster care or in a group home.    22% of the homeless population report being forced to leave home.

21% of the adult homeless population experience homelessness during childhood.  Homeless children are three times as likely to have been sexually abused as other children.

Lack of Education Perpetuates Homelessness

    38% of adult homeless individuals do not have a high school degree by age 18 and 53% report having dropped out of either elementary, middle, or high school for an indefinite period of time.   18% of the homeless population say they were expelled from school and only 62% of the homeless population have a high school diploma.

Homeless Youth – Some Random Facts That May Scare You

Some random facts that may scare you:

Estimates are that one in seven youths will leave home by the age of 18 (National Runaway Switchboard, 2001).

 “Every year, assault, illness, and suicide claim the lives of approximately 5,000 runaway and homeless youth” (The National Runaway Switchboard, 2001, p. 2). 

 Young people on the streets find it very difficult to meet their basic needs, so they may also resort to survival sex to provide for themselves. 

 According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, more than half of all runaways are girls (Hammer, et al., 2002). Makes you want to cry

The National Network for Youth (2003) reports that most homeless youth living on the streets are boys. Boys are more likely to be kicked out and girls more likely to run away, possibly because boys are more likely to engage in deviant behaviors that cause parents to kick them out and girls are more likely to experience sexual abuse that prompts them to run away.

The same abuse continues on the streets as girls are more likely to be raped and boys are more likely to be physically assaulted (Cauce, et al., 2000; MacLean, Embry,& Cauce, 1999).

Ensign and Bell (2004) found the average length of homelessness differed significantly according to whether the youth lived in a shelter or on the streets. For those living in shelters, the average length of homelessness was four months (range one to nine months), but the average length for those on the streets was three years (range one month to eight years).

One in eight youth under 18 will leave home and become a street person in need of services (Raleigh-DuRoff, 2004), and 40 percent do not return home

Do you have children or grandchildren or neighbors with children at risk?   Do something about it before it is too late.  Get help now.

I hope the picture above makes you want to cry.  

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