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From Out of the Shadows: Shedding Light on Oregon's Homeless and Runaway Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2005
49 pages
This report presents an overview of the homeless and runaway youth problem in Oregon.
On any given day thousands of young Oregonians are homeless without the guidance of caring adults and connection to the support systems of families, schools, and community. In addition, no branch of State government has specific responsibility for providing services or guiding decisionmaking for this at-risk population. To address the issues of runaway and homeless youth in the State of Oregon, in 2003, the House Committee on Health and Human Services recommended the formation of the Oregon Homeless and Runaway Youth Work Group. The work group was charged with studying and reporting on the issues affecting Oregon's homeless youth The Work Group's findings are summarized in this report within four key areas of study and analysis: history and policy, the homeless youth population, family accountability and support, and services for homeless. The report focuses on youth who are age 21 or younger. Following the study and analysis, the Work Group submitted the following recommendations: (1) designate the Oregon Commission on Children and Families as responsible for statewide planning of services to homeless youth, runaways, and their families; (2) families of runaway and homeless youth need support to be held accountable to address critical problems; (3) identify models of culturally competent, gender-specific, evidence-based service delivery in urban and rural demonstration sites; and (4) a dedicated funding stream should be allocated to adequately serve runaways, their families, and homeless youth. In conclusion, a comprehensive State policy, dedicated resources, improved collaboration and coordination among programs that serve runaway and homeless youth are necessary for a long-term strategy for responding to the needs of this at-risk population. Appendixes A-C and 12 endnotes