Older Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Taking a Broad Perspective Barbara Duffield, Policy Director, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Caroline Fuller, MAT, CHES, Comprehensive School Health Specialist Virginia Department of Education Kathi Sheffel, Homeless Student Liaison Fairfax Counthy Public Schools Setting the Context: Who are Homeless Youth? Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence: Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations Living in emergency or transitional shelters Awaiting foster care placement Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, etc. Migratory children living in above circumstances Setting the Context: Who are Unaccompanied Homeless Youth? Unaccompanied: children and youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Is there an age range? No. McKinney-Vento applies to all school-aged children and youth as defined by state law. Is there a citizenship requirement? No. Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe (1982) makes it unlawful for schools to deny access to undocumented immigrants or ask about immigration status. McKinney-Vento must be equally applied to undocumented students. Setting the Context: Why such a broad definition? • Shelters are often full; shelters may turn families and youth away, or put them on waiting lists. • Shelters do not exist in many suburban and rural areas. • Eligibility conditions of shelters often exclude families with boys over the age of 12, or unaccompanied minors. • Motels may not be available, or may be too expensive. • Youth on their own may fear adult shelters. • Shelters often have 30, 60, or 90 day time limits. • Families/youth may be unaware of alternatives, fleeing in crisis, living in over-crowded, temporary, and sometimes unsafe environments. Setting the Context: Why are some youth homeless and on their own? Over half of callers to Runaway Hotline report being physically abused at home; over one-third report sexual abuse; over two-thirds report that at least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol Other youth are thrown out of their homes because they are pregnant, gay or lesbian, or because their parents believe they are old enough to take care of themselves Some children and youth are abandoned by their parents, or are on their own due to death of parents Some children and youth are in unstable living situations due to parental incarceration, illness, or hospitalization Setting the Context: Why are some youth homeless and on their own? (2) Over half of youth living in shelters report that their parents either told them to leave, or knew they were leaving and did not care Some youth become homeless with their families, but, due to lack of space in doubled-up or motel situations, end up homeless on their own Natural disasters cause youth to be separated from family during their homelessness Aging out of foster care into homelessness; running away from foster care placements due to abuse in the foster home, or to reconnect with siblings and family Setting the Context: How Many Youth are Homeless? In 2008-2009, public schools nationwide reported over 930,000 homeless children and youth; this is a 38% increase over two years In 2008-2009, Virginia school divisions reported 12,768 homeless students; this is a 29% increase over two years Leading causes of increasing homelessness: economic downturn, foreclosures, greater awareness Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in VA Barriers to Education High mobility Unaccompanied youth: lack of a parent or guardian to sign forms Lack of school records and other paperwork Lack of stable housing Emotional crisis / mental health issues Employment - need to balance school and work Lack of transportation Lack of school supplies, clothing Fatigue, poor health, hunger Credit accrual policies, attendance policies Concerns about being captured by authorities Low expectations by family, school Educational Rights Under the McKinney-Vento Act Broad mandate for all school divisions to remove barriers to school enrollment and retention by revising policies and practices Students may remain in the school of origin (if in best interest) Transportation to the school of origin Immediate enrollment Access to programs and services Access to dispute resolution procedures Homeless Youth and HIV Risk Caroline Fuller, MAT, CHES Comprehensive School Health Specialist Virginia Department of Education Healthy Children are better students. CDC defines youth or young people as persons ages 13-24 years. It is difficult for students to be successful if they are: depressed sick tired using alcohol or being bullied other drugs hungry stressed abused Health Risks Depression Self-injury Substance abuse High exposure to HIV and other STDs Violence Homeless Youth Study Study on January 3, 2008 Journal of Adolescent Health 77% sexually active at beginning of study, 85% at end Increase risk in nonfamily settings Increase risk with drug use Recommendation: new interventions need to focus on structural factors that impact risky behavior Virginia Youth Statistics 2005- HIV rate among 2008- Increase in newly men is twice as high as diagnosed (n=136) in women men ages 20-24; 3 times higher than 2006- Chlamydia, women in same age Gonorrhea and total group early syphilis 1/3 to ½ of persons Highest in ages 20-29 with AIDS in US are Second highest in ages homeless or at 13-19 imminent risk of homelessness Addressing HIV Risk in Virginia’s Public Schools 100% funded by CDC SHAB is mandated FLE not mandated Trainings Coordinated School 15 modules in FLE Health Programming Local trainings School Health and New Partnerships Education Partnership Meeting the Shelter and Housing Needs of Unaccompanied Youth: Fairfax County’s Approach To date, 175 unaccompanied homeless youth have been identified (compared to 100 for the previous year) Lack of housing options: limited emergency shelter, barriers to mainstream programs School division invited all agencies to a meeting to share information Monthly meetings of task force lead to program development School division now serves as referral source and advisor to the initiative Meeting the Shelter and Housing Needs of Unaccompanied Youth: Fairfax County’s Approach To date, 175 unaccompanied homeless youth have been identified (compared to 100 for the previous year) Lack of housing options: limited emergency shelter, barriers to mainstream programs School division invited all agencies to a meeting to share information Monthly meetings of task force lead to program development School division now serves as referral source and advisor to the initiative Housing Youth: Getting Started Gathering stakeholders Identifying strengths and weaknesses of existing current supports for youth Brainstorming ideas Housing Youth: Fairfax County Programs Host Homes - individuals or families in the community willing to provide housing while the youth is in school Homes for teen girls Rental subsidy program Alternative house (shelter) Housing Youth: Implementing Plans Financial Logistical Timelines Housing Youth: Continuing the Relationships Between Agencies Serving on advisory team Working out barriers and improving the program Collecting data Finding additional funding sources Higher Education and Homeless Youth Youth who meet the definition of “independent student” can complete the FAFSA without parental income information or signature. Unaccompanied youth are automatically considered independent students. Must be verified as unaccompanied and homeless during the school year in which the application is submitted. Youth who are unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and self-supporting are also automatically considered independent students. Must be verified as such during the school year in which the application is submitted. Higher Education and Homeless Youth, 2 Verification must be made by: a McKinney-Vento Act school district liaison, a HUD homeless assistance program director or their designee, a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program director or their designee, or a financial aid administrator. www.naehcy.org/higher_ed.html Youth who have been in foster care at any time after age 13 are also automatically independent. Resources Project HOPE-VA http://www.wm.edu/hope National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth http://www.naehcy.org National Center on Homeless Education http://www.serve.org/nche National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty http://www.nlchp.org National Network for Youth www.nn4youth.org Contact Information Barbara Duffield Policy Director, NAEHCY 202-364-7392 email@example.com Caroline Fuller Virginia Department of Education P.O. Box 2120 Richmond, VA 23218 804-225-2431 Caroline.firstname.lastname@example.org Kathi Sheffel Homeless Liaison, Fairfax County Public Schools 571-423-4332 KLSheffel@fcps.edu References Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (SSDHPER), (2002) Making the Connection AIDS Housing of Washington. (2003). Homelessness & HIV/AIDS. AHW Fact Sheet. Seattle, WA. Buchanan, D., Doblin, B., Sai, T., & Garcia, P. (2006) The effects of respite care for homeless patients: A cohort study. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1278-1281. Conanan B, London K, Martinez L, Modersbach D, O’Connell J, O’Sullivan M, Raffanti S,Ridolfo A, Post P, Santillan Rabe M, Song J, Treherne L. (2003) Adapting Your Practice: Treatment and Recommendations for Homeless Patients with HIV/AIDS, 62 pages. Nashville: Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc., 2003. Curry J. Homelessness and HIV. Retrieved November 10, 2007 from http://www.thebody.com/content/art14339.html DeCarlo, P., Susser, E., & Tulsky, J. P. (1996). What are homeless people’s HIV prevention needs? San Francisco, CA: Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of San Francisco. Forney, J. C., Lombardo, S., & Toro, P. A. (2007) Diagnostic and other correlates of HIV risk behaviors in a probability sample of homeless adults. Psychiatric Services, 58, 92-99. Health Resources and Services Organization. (2007). HIV/AIDS and homelessness: Abridged from HIV/AIDS and homelessness, John Song, M.D. (HRSA799) Retrieved July 23, 2007 from: http://hab.hrsa.gov/publications/799.htm National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007a). How many people experience homelessness? NCH Fact Sheet #2. Washington, DC. National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007b). HIV/AIDS and homelessness. NCH Fact Sheet #9. Washington, DC.