Interagency Council on Homelessness - June Meeting (Council Full Overview)

Uploaded by USGOVHHS on 22.06.2012

So I thought I would call on Bryan to discuss a bit of the work that he's been doing.
>> Great. Good afternoon.
I'm going to spend just a short period of time walking you through work that's been
done since this past fall, it was done by an interagency working group with a focus
on really developing a framework that could be presented here at the council meeting to
talk about how we move on issues of ending homelessness for youth.
So the presentation I'm going to give you today speaks to the issues of developing a
confident estimate of youth homelessness, leveraging the current research on effective
intervention, really trying to introduce a new model and approach to homelessness for
youth as well as talk some about gaps in our analysis.
So as most of you know, we don't currently have a strong or recent estimate of homelessness,
so we start this presentation on the premise that we need better data in order to have
a better plan, and so what we lay out here is a phased in strategy for data collection,
so if you start on the left and you work your way to the right, we think one component of
a better data system is a data system between the adult programs and the youth programs
at least being coordinated. We think there's a benefit to having a common
standard for data across youth as well as adults, and we're really looking at the feasibility
of an integrated strategy. So that providers that are working with youth
and with adults don't have to enter data into two separate systems.
Again, there's some technical issues there that we're needing the work through, but at
a minimum, we want a coordinated strategy around data collection and ultimately we'd
love to see an integrated data strategy. In addition to that, we need to move beyond
simply the children that we're currently serving our young adults that we're currently serving
and also began to do a point in time analysis looking at at any point in time how many children
are runaway and homeless, so we would hope to leverage an opportunity that already exists
through the work that hud does on a point and time estimate and bring in some of our
youth providers on a voluntary basis and have them simply replicate the work of a point
in time that H.U.D. does with some adjustments to reflect that youth have some different
patterns of behavior that we need to be able to account for, and to include education so
that we're looking at the point in time estimate data that's coming from the schools, data
that's coming from our outreach in the community as well as data that comes from programs themselves.
So the third phase of the data collection process is really having a national study,
and that includes having a point in time analysis throughout the entire country as well as a
household survey where we can get additional information that will complement what we collect
in the point in time data analysis, and then having a periodic estimate which allows us
to both integrate the data that we collect from the national study with the data that
we have available through a coordinated data system as I described earlier.
So we think all of those are necessary components to getting to a reliable estimate, we think
we need to do it in stages because of limited resources, as well as developing some techniques
to effectively identify young people who are living on the streets in particular, so again,
we think over time, we can put in place a data system that really does provide us the
quality of data we need to really have a strong system that has a self correcting mechanism
of ongoing accurate data. We also would like to introduce to this framework
a slightly different way of thinking about youth who are runaway and homeless, and that
is to think about them both in terms of risk factors, things that we're concerned about,
as well as protective factors, assets that they have that might increase the likelihood
that they can get off of the streets. Increasingly different service agencies and
different service organizations are recognizing that a risk and protective factor approach
makes more sense than just focusing on risk factors.
So if you do that, then we can look at the newly homeless population, those who have
been on the streets for less than six months, and when you do that analysis, they typically
fall into three categories. One, which is a fairly low risk population,
meaning that they have very few risk factors and quite a few protective factors.
Notably, they're connected to their schools, they have positive friendships, they have
good physical health, and they have survival skills.
When you look at the more at risk populations, what you see is an increasing number of risk
factors and fewer numbers of protective factors. the meaningful distinction between those in
the at risk group versus the most risky group, the distinction is those the risky group have a much higher reported
rate of sexual and physical abuse prior to running away, so they represent on a continuum
the harder population to serve, and the population that is most at risk to becoming chronically
homeless. Next slide.
So as part of an overarching strategy, we have developed what we think is an intervention
strategy that makes the most sense in the context of a heterogeneous population.
It is not reasonable to assume that all kids who are runaway and homeless are exactly the
same. So we know that age is one of the things that
matters, the amount of time spent on the streets is something that matters, and then again,
the protective factors, the things that young people bring with them matter, so we think
a reorganized strategy is one that starts with a clear understanding of age and time
of homelessness, it recognizes the heteroGENEITY, and it moves through to a more targeted strategy
of focusing on those issues that are most likely to produce the outcomes that we want.
the articulated outcomes that we want from this integrated strategy is stable housing,
permanent connections, well being, and education and employment success.
So this is a scheme that we think makes the most sense and it provides us an opportunity
to target limited resources but expressly for the purposes of getting to the outcomes
that we care most about. So again, at the federal level, we think that
if we can do a better job of anticipating the particular challenges that young people
bring with them to being runaway and homeless, if we can have a better data system that allows
us to re think the structure of the existing federal program, and we can maximize those
federal programs by doing more of what we know works and less of what we know and less
of what doesn't work, we think that those things together actually creates the kind
of framework that has a legitimate chance for reducing if not eliminating youth homelessness
in the near future. So lastly, we've laid out this plan that has
multiple phases and it has multiple dimensions to it.
All of those things can happen along a continuum in terms of time.
We also think that there is a benefit to going forward with a demonstration project that
specifically targets those populations that we think we're going to have the greatest
challenge in getting to a place of ending their homelessness, and so anything that we
can learn in the earlier phases of laying out this plan, we think benefits us throughout
the implementation process. So we're proposing designing a demonstration
project that would focus on a smaller number of the population on young people who are
the most vulnerable. So when you look at the data, the four groups
that really pop out immediately are that young people who have had child welfare experiences,
those who are LGBT youth. We are increasingly recognizing that young
people leaving the juvenile justice system as well as pregnant and parenting teens are
four subgroups within the homeless population that we think represent a particular challenge
to ending their homelessness, we think there's a benefit to organizing a demonstration project
around them and really beginning to learn in our early stages of laying out this implementation
strategy what we need to do differently to affect positive outcomes for these subpopulations.
We're also increasingly learning that trafficking is a concern on the ground, and while we don't
have a ton of empirical data that points to this population, we're hearing from folks
on the ground that this is an emerging issue that we ought to also pay attention to.
and so we want to look at the four populations as they've been described here, as well as
that traffic population, and really try to design a demonstration project that tries
to put evidence based intervention in place that follows the basic intervention model
that I've outlined earlier, and begin to see as early as possible can we turn the dime
for these populations, begin to see positive outcomes, and ultimately be able to refine
the implementation of the overall plan so that it can effectively address those who
are most vulnerable to being chronically homeless.
>> Thank you, Bryan. There's a couple of things that follow.
As I said earlier, we have three very distinguished guests who I will introduce in the order that
they're going to speak, so I'm going to ask them to spend about five minutes each commenting
on the presentation they've just heard, and then I know I appreciate not only secretary
Duncan and secretary Donovan being here today, I offer apologies from our colleague who was
planning to be here at the last minute. Somebody called her at the White House, I
don't know who it was, said that somehow she was needed there or she would be here and
I appreciate the labor team that's here and others who are here and RAQUEL from the domestic
policy council, but I will open it up after our presenters speak for a wider discussion.
But first I'd like to ask Dana Scott, who is the state coordinator for the education
of homeless children and youth program at the Colorado department of education.
She will be our first presenter. Following her will be Bob Mecum, executive
director of lighthouse youth services from Cincinnati, and the third guest with us today
is Nan Roman, who is president, CEO of the national alliance to end homelessness.
So with that, I'll turn to Dana.
>> Members of the interagency council, thank you for having me here today.
We are pleased that education has been a part of the dialogue for this framework.
Today I'd like to summarize my feedback into four main points.
However, you do have a brief within your packets at your table that provides more specifics,
and for our web viewing audience, it's available on the national association's website.
First, we're pleased to see the framework include education as a long term out come.
We'd also like to see education added as an appropriate intervention strategy.
Schools are places where kids can go and get food, they're safe, they have access to supportive
adults who can help them, so within a specific day, a student experiencing homelessness can
go to school and have intervention strategies. and we'd like to add that to the plan as well.
It helps to build the protective factors that commissioner Samuels referenced during his
presentation. In Colorado, we saw students were twice as
mobile as their housed peers. We also know that they're the biggest subgroup
of dropouts by population, and due to this data, we developed a new unit within the Colorado
department of education called student engagement and dropout prevention.
So we're pleased to see student engagement as a piece of those protective factors as
well and we're working with other programs within the department to increase graduation
rates. We're also looking at increasing completion
rates and working with higher ED in some really exciting ways, where we're appointing specialists
in higher education institutions around the country that can be single points of contact
for uncompanied youth entering into post secondary education.
My second point today is we believe that planned strategies and intervention should be based
on individual youth needs, and built around their experiences.
Our students have complex histories and a fluidity of experiences that don't fit into
neatly predefined boxes such as how long they've been homeless or where they lay their heads
at tonight. for instance, a youth who might have a history
of abuse and neglect might experience an initial incidence of homelessness and may have higher
risk factors than a youth who has been homeless longer, and, therefore, we ask that youth
programs assess the individuality of each youth and acknowledge that every youth has
unique needs, challenges, goals, interests and strengths.
and to the extent that we can start to incentivize those individualized assessments, we would
promote highly. Third, current data that's verified by the
U.S. department of education should be embedded in the plan immediately.
Schools are in every community throughout the country.
School districts have a wealth of data that's more comprehensive than any other youth service
provider, and we also, as educational agencies, use a definition of homelessness that's realistic
for youth who cannot find shelter or housing and who have to double up with others.
Even in situations where their health and safety may be at risk.
So any framework on youth homelessness must use this education data and supplement with
point in time and homeless or runaway youth provider data for out of school youth.
In conclusion, long term planning is vital, but equally critical is making changes in
services now that can immediately help our youth who are homeless.
We must have a greater sense of urgency around this work.
In Colorado, the number of uncompanied homeless youth have doubled in two years.
the sense of urgency is here now. Our youth are at great risk.
So we know there are some things we can do right way, immediately.
Our national association for homeless education can work with national partners and is working
to provide a list of immediate actions that federal agencies can do today that can help
to remove documented barriers to increase access to housing, to food, to education and
other services. Our work can start in this meeting and it's
so exciting to be here. I want to thank you for inviting us and we're
excited to be at the table. Thank you.
>> Thank you for coming. I want to point out to folks that under tab
4 is not only a more extensive BIO of guests with us today, the experts who are here, but
also their presentation to what Dana just laid out is included in your packet.
As I said, Bob Mecum is the executive director of the lighthouse youth services, he's been
with that organization for 36 years maybe? comes to us considerable expertise dealing
with youth homelessness. >> Thank you, secretary Sebelius.
First of all, ending youth homelessness by the year 2020 is achievable.
and it must begin with that willingness to admit that presently there is no coherent
comprehensive system to deal with youth homelessness. So my first response to commissioner Samuels'
presentation is, thank you for acknowledging that fact.
This gives us a chance to create one. and we must.
the need is now, the need is urgent. Second, as commissioner Samuels said, we lack
accurate data on the scope of the problem. integrating HMIS and rye must, we can finally
begin to develop that accurate data. I can tell you that those of us working in
the field every day, consider that recommendation an absolute no brainer.
Total support from the field on that great idea, commissioner.
However, if we also include the education department's data from the local education
homeless coordinators, we first enrich the work that commissioner Samuels has proposed
engaging the runaway and homeless youth act providers in the point in time count.
If we could engage them and our educational coordinators in these point and time H.U.D.
continuum of care counts, we cannot only get more accurate data, we can begin to develop
a better understanding of why youth become homeless.
Third, I really appreciate the willingness to advance evidence based practice.
Over the last 20 years, there has been incredible work done in the area of juvenile justice
and mental health with random control trials taking a look and discovering interventions
that absolutely do work. the typologies that commissioner Samuels presented
provide us with the beginnings of a framework to introduce targeted evidence based interventions.
What we know now is that there are some things we are doing that not only don't work but
which actually can provide harm to children and families.
Your commitment to the notion that we are going to draw on existing research to create
a delivery system to achieve those outcomes is good thinking, the kind of thinking that
we not only need but the kind of thinking for which there is a moral imperative.
Finally, these performance partnership pilots that you mentioned are a tremendous jump start
to make all of the above happen and happen more quickly.
This not only creates an opportunity for us to take a look at developing evidence based
approaches, but perhaps even more importantly, the initiative as you described it creates
a lasting coordinated federal stream of dollars, and waves, some of the current administrative
requirements that very often get in our way of creating this lasting system of care for
homeless youth. All together, excellent proposals, you're
to be congratulated. Thank you, Barbara poppy Smith, for your excellent
leadership of the interagency council on homelessness.
>> Thank you. Final expert with us today, many of us have
had a chance to work with and learn from over the years.
Nan Roman is the President and CEO of the national alliance to end homelessness, and
working around the country I know for a dozen years, considerably longer than that, I guess,
but welcome, Nan. >> Thank you so much.
Glad to be here and thank you, secretary Sebelius, for your leadership on the council, and congratulations
to the council on the second anniversary of opening doors.
You're to be commended for developing that wonderful plan and for not putting it on a
shelf as soon as you were finished developing it, so thanks for that.
We're tremendously grateful for your work, and I also want to thank and appreciate the
leadership of barb poppy and wonderful staff. We see every day the information of the provisions
in opening doors, and I want to thank commissioner Samuels also for the tremendous work advancing
the issue of youth homelessness which has really been on the back burner for so long.
with respect to the USICH proposed framework, I think the strategy has focused on the correct
set of things, that is, to size the homeless youth population, to identify the segments
of the homeless youth population, to identify solutions for each segment and then plan to
go to scale with those solutions. Not withstanding the fact that the data is
atrocious, we at national alliance to end homelessness, having waited quite a while
for good data and being impatient, took the lousy data that was out there and tried to
make some guesstimate at these numbers. We also applied the typologies that the commissioner
has discussed to the data, so I just want to tell you what we saw, because even though
it's not definitive by any stretch of the imagination, I think some lessons do start
to emerge from it. So what we found was that a lot of kids between
12 and 24 become homeless in some by some definition every year.
Probably around 1.9 million, but about 1.3 are homeless for only a short period of time.
the rest stay homeless longer, but they will return home or get housing, still relatively
quickly, and those under 18 remain connected to family or school as the commissioner discussed.
About 80,000 youth seem to have more serious problems and about half of those youth have
disabilities. It's also important to note that about 60,000
of these youths are heads of families. So what are the implications of that data to
us? just as with homeless adults obviously, there
is a huge group of people who are having housing crises or domestic crises, but they have lighter
needs. They're going to go home relatively quickly
and there's a much smaller group that has more intensive needs.
for the lower need group, we clearly need a much more comprehensive and robust crisis
system. They may not be homeless for very long, but
a lot of really bad things can happen to them in a short period of time that they're homeless,
and we need to do more to help them get home. If they're going home eventually, we need
to do a lot more family intervention to make that happen more quickly and more safely.
for the higher need kids, so that's about 80,000 kids again, 40,000 of whom have disabilities,
this is a very solvable problem. We should focus on ending their homelessness
by targeting the resources to them and ramping up on housing and services for that high need
group. They're often now screened out of programs,
not screened into the more intensive programs, and we need to reverse that.
So with regard to the framework today, I would say, A, we should move a lot faster to get
the data. We should require participation in the 2013.
in time counts by both the continuums and the youth providers.
We won't get perfect data but we'll get more data and it will be better than what we have
now, and we should move forward right away on merging RYMUS and HMIS.
Again it's not going to be perfect but it will be better than what we have.
at hud, we should also give the continuum of care some responsibility in those regulations
to address youth issues, so we should require continuums to include homeless youth in their
plans. We should move quickly to incentivize existing
homeless youth providers to serve the highest need kids.
Demonstrations are great but they're just too slow.
We don't have much time. There are a lot of innovative practitioners
out there, and we should unleash them on this problem.
We should scale up the family intervention services provided by child welfare, by juvenile
justice, in the RHY and homeless problems, we should do it quickly.
a lot of this has to be around mainstream welfare and family support programs, not about
how to make the homeless youth it's too small. There's little attention or at least it didn't
pop out, what the mainstream systems are going to do.
Child and youth homelessness are indicators of failure in these systems, and these systems
must be given some clear directions about how to improve and reduce that failure.
We thank you so much for setting the goal of youth homelessness.
There are only eight years left to achieve that, 1.9 million people experiencing it every
year. the trajectory of that problem needs to start
going down soon, and we have to take bold action to make that happen, I think clear
time lines and numerical goals are going to be necessary.
the framework lays out a way to move forward, and I think getting it going fast is the way
to proceed. Again, thank you so much.
>> Well, again, thank you for being here. We're going to open up and include you in
discussions, but I want to start with secretary Arnie Duncan from the department of education
and see if you have a comment or question or both.
>> Thanks, I apologize, I had to sneak out a minute first, Bryan and I worked very, very
closely together in Chicago, so whatever he says, I agree with.
[laughter] >> In all seriousness, there's no one as smart
and committed on these issues than Bryan. so really appreciate your leadership, lucky
to have you working on this. a couple quick thoughts.
I think whatever we can do so work on the data piece which is clearly a huge need, has
been for decades, but I don't want to wait another two decades for good data, so let's
move on both tracks as fast as we can, it's hugely important.
Dana, you talk about and I obviously agree how we tie schools in here, often schools
are the only source of stability that they have.
Whatever we can do to keep kids connected to their school and their teachers.
Bryan and I worked on this in Chicago. We had the sad reality is we have more and
more districts who had very little experience of homeless youth now having lots of experience,
and the need for training school district personnel about how to respond and how to
be helpful, there's an urgent need there. If you think about the pilots of where you
want to go with limited resources, I think about going to places where there's local
skin in the game, where folks are doing some really creative stuff, that we at the federal
level can't do this by ourselves. Cincinnati is doing some mission work, Bob
not just with you but with school based healthcare clinic, which I think are a big part of the
answer. Kathleen, HHS's funding the school based healthcare
clinics, I think is a huge step in the right direction working with vulnerable youth, so
picking the right places to pilot this where there's local commitment and buy in and we're
not trying to create something from scratch, I'd urge us to be very, very strategic in
doing that. Then finally, to Dana and to Bob, I'd ask
you to challenge us to cut through our bureaucracies. We try and work very closely together, we
actually like each other a lot, but if you see things that we're not doing and we're
not talking to each other, hud and HHS, we want to be great partners.
You guys are doing the hard work every single day.
Whatever we can do to facilitate the hands on ground level work that you're doing, please
challenge us and hold us accountable for being good partners.
We appreciate the leadership. Bryan, thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.
>> Thank you. It's great to have a secretary of education
very engaged and involved in this, and as he said, sometimes we can sit here and talk
about things but what he see on the ground might be a very different reality as the way
this is trickling down, so that feedback is really helpful.
We think the kind of collaborative work and leveraging agency assets is really important,
but it doesn't really matter if it's happening where the rubber meets the road, you're the
ones that are going to be able to get that feedback back to us.
next I'd like to recognize a great colleague and leader in this area, Shawn Donovan, and
again, see if you have comments, questions, thoughts for them.
>> First I'll just echo my colleague is leaving here who said how useful this is, really important
discussion, very important contributions. I am particularly interested and would love,
Nan, if you would comment or any other comments that the panel may have, this focus that I
find incredibly useful to sort of pull apart the population and start to think about the
dynamics of homelessness, not just the snapshot. and I'm wondering if you could comment on
what we know about the dynamics of the process relative to some other populations.
the two particular things I'm interested in, sort of my experience with other forms of
homelessness would say that even though there's a relatively small number of what you call
the chronically disconnected, that there's an enormous share of the resources, both human
costs and government public costs that come out of a relatively small group that are chronic,
but I'm curious whether you would say in the same way that we've done on chronic homelessness,
sort of focusing on that group as a priority to the extent that we have to choose, is that
the right strategy or do you see, for example, that in the very large number of folks who
are disconnected for very short periods of time that they tend to if we don't prevent
it in the first place, they tend to end up coming back into the system at various points
that there are even if it's not it's only a week, three years later, you find they've
moved into a different category or whether there's some dynamic process that happens
that you'd suggest we all look at and really think about in terms of prioritizing our efforts.
>> I'm sure my colleagues will have thoughts about this also, but I would just say, it
seems focus on the high needs population with more attempt at intervention.
So I'm not sure that they're chronically homeless, though, but they're disconnected, the profile
is different, and the typology is retrospective, so it's looking back over people's homelessness
experience, but I think clearly there are people, there are kids who become homeless
and are at very high risk the second day or even the first day, and so it's not precisely
the same. So I would say what makes sense to us is higher
more intensive intervention on higher need people, which is likely to be a smaller number,
and I think what Bryan reviewed also bears this out, and to have a faster turnover crisis
system for people with lower needs, and the other thing that popped up to us about the
data, when so many of the kids are going home, that doesn't always mean to their parents,
but they're going somewhere into housing, the family intervention, whereas on the adults,
the housing piece is so much the bigger piece with younger people, it's more about the family
intervention than housing, per se. >> Before I open it up further and ask Shawn
if he has other questions, Bob, do you want to also react to that same question about
focus and target? because I think as everybody agrees, collecting
the data is essential and we've got to get going on that.
We're way too late as it is, but in terms of where we start targeting, I think that's
one of the opportunities we have today to kind of figure that out.
>> Two answers to that. First, when we consider the significant percentage
of the lower risk young people that are coming in to basic centers now, who still have tractable
families, what this typology does for us in the field is it frees us up to think about
strategies other than providing shelter as the first strategy.
But rather strategies such as functional family therapy or strategies that engage families
in their homes, in their communities, outside of the shelter system.
Then on the other extreme are those deep end chronically homeless youth who do absorb a
significant amount of our resources, and what we have found in the field, certainly in Cincinnati,
is that among our older homeless youth, at least to 25% if not more, our so called graduates
of the child welfare system, another 20 to 25% are LGTB Q youth.
What does that tell us? there are ample opportunities for us to again
focus more of our work in families where the problems begin.
Certainly providing shelter, certainly providing transitional housing, but exploring other
revenue streams at the federal level to integrate with local streams to do more intervention
in the homes with families. Which I think is our very best cost benefit
strategy. >> If I could just follow up on that, I think
as we've learned a little bit the hard way in the prevention work that we're doing, when
I was in New York, we had a lot of focus on this and then we sort of doing this at the
federal level, it's one thing to say if that makes sense as a strategy in theory, the question
is in reality, can we actually find those families and is there evidence that once you
find them and you have a predictive ability, that you can actually intervene in a way that
is cost effective and changes behavior, right? >> Oh, you can find them.
You can find them. >> So is there good evidence the question
is, how good is the evidence that that type of prevention is actually effective relative
to other types of prevention that I might know more of the literature and the research
>> So I would say the place where we have the most empirical data is around the young
people who use our shelters. the vast majority, over 80% of young people
who use runaway and homeless youth shelters, actually spend very little time on the streets.
a couple of days, a week or so, and they land in the shelter.
and the vast majority of them leave with a family member going back home.
So our basic centers do a good job of reconnecting young people with their families going back
home. What the literature suggests is there's about
a 20% population there of those who go back home that are at risk for that relationship
being ruptured again and then being back out on the streets.
So we get a lot of kids back home which is the positive news.
Once we get them back home, if we can organize those interventions about those most at risk
of rupturing those relationships, then I think we're in a pretty good position to say that
that's a system that we ought to have in place, it's appropriate, it meets the basic needs
of those kids who spend a short time on the street.
It's the older ones, the ones who have spent more time on the streets are the biggest challenge,
the chronically homeless. to be honest with you, most providers would
tell you that those kids spend a lot of time trying to avoid being on the radar screen,
so finding them and connecting with them is one challenge.
Reconnecting them with homes is a much larger challenge.
So not suggesting that we shouldn't try to do that, but the reality is for the longer
you're on the street, the more disconnected you are, the greater is the likelihood that
you want to stay off the radar screen and so working with those young people in getting
them moving towards a permanent solution in terms of housing, I think is a larger challenge,
and we know less about how to reconnect them with their family.
>> Do we have any idea, and this may be more for Dana, but both of you, Bob and Nan may
have some thoughts about this. I have two questions really about the data.
Bryan identified four risk groups that he thought might be appropriate to focus on.
I'm curious what the thought is for some of you about how much that overlaps with the
80,000, you know, what do we know, how likely would they be to fit into these categories,
are there things over and above that, but for Dana also, do you have any sense of whether
it's Nan's 80,000 or kids here but the more chronically homeless, how many of those would
we think still have some kind of an ongoing school connection or by dropping out and crop
dropping really off the radar screen, are they also out of I'm trying to think what
the touch point is, because if they're that disconnected from families, how many of those
are chronically homeless, older, kids would have any sort of touch in the education system?
>> You certainly see a high amount of dropouts in our older youth, but as educators and coming
to this from an education perspective, we don't talk in categories of chronically homeless.
We look at individualized youth needs. I think as we've shown up here, some youths,
reunification may be the best bet. for some years it may be a host home model,
for some youth t may be a shelter for a short period of time.
In areas where reunification is not possible, how do we access services as fast as possible?
currently there are barriers when it comes to age, guardianship and parental signature
requirements if our county child welfare offices, so that's a good prevention model f we could
have specialists in a county office, not an extra FTE but someone who's currently within
the office that could be a specialist for unaccompanied youth that could help other
providers, that that's a long way in going towards the prevention efforts that we're
talking about. >> But that only works when kids are still
in touch with the school. That's what I'm trying to figure out.
How many of the kids that we got a snapshot of, if you could put them in categories and
say this is the most serious category, I'm trying to get some sense of how many of those
kids would still be able to be accessed through some kind of school touch and or are they
so disconnected that we have to find them elsewhere 70
>> Well, truly in terms of the jargon used, I can't talk to the chronic piece, but I can
tell you that kids who are highly mobile are less likely to be connected with their schools.
It takes kids an average of four to six months to academically recover.
So to the degree that we can keep kids in a stable environment in their homeschools,
we're able to keep that touch with the youths and not create such a disconnected connection.
for our chronically disconnected youth to use your jargon, we're finding that some school
engagement strategies work in terms of having out of school liaisons that can connect youth
back to mainstream educational services, perhaps getting GEDs, perhaps going on to higher education,
so we're working with kids who have dropped out of school to try to reconnect those kids
back into the educational setting.
>> So I can just share that our members are completely consistent with the typology that
commissioner Samuels presented. So in terms of connection to school, the under
18, there would be about 55,000 that are either unstably connected or disconnected that would
likely be more likely to be approachable through school.
24,000 of those are kids that have some more serious disability. So we were the numbers
I presented you with were all the way to 24, but if you were looking for school connection
under 18, so there would be about 24,000 who have essentially kind of mirrored the chronic
population, that they may not be chronically homeless, disconnected and disabled.
>> I have been reminded that we have some viewers who have been tuned in with us, and
I want to first of all apologize in advance, we have lots of engaged and interested members
here who I know want to get involved. We never have enough time for full discussions,
but I want to make sure, Jennifer, if you have a question or two from the audience,
that you could key up. >> There are a number of questions that basically
I'm weaving together into one.
>> Good. >> What local communities are asking, whether
through the lens of their child welfare system, their homeless youth programs, their schools
or other programs is, what is the vision that we have for local communities in terms of
taking all of these silos and separate systems and creating something that coheres I think
Bob maybe what you were saying, what would a local system of care look like, I guess
my woven together question would go either to the panel
>> I'll take a small step for council but welcome others.
Certainly we have some assets at the federal level which we're probably not using well
enough at the local level. One of them clearly is as kids come out of
either a juvenile justice system or age out or leave the foster care system.
Some of those kids have had touch with a federal agency but often don't have a plan, don't
have a so that could be a connecting piece that we would need local partners on the ground,
a better strategy months before they exit, but often that doesn't happen and that's in
part services, it's in part housing, maybe job connection, but that has to happen on
the ground, it seems to me, so that kind of connection would be one of them I would see
from the federal level working in partnership at the local level.
You all might be able to react to the local level.
>> First, secretary Sebelius, I want to thank you for mentioning the importance of engaging
the juvenile justice system. When we think about the runaway and homeless
youth act, it's hopeful to consider its history that it was initially title 4 of the juvenile
justice delinquency prevention act. and why was it a part of that act?
because back in the 70s, the primary intervention for runaway and homeless youth were adult
jails or detention centers. Even today, with bindovers of kids into the
adult criminal justice system, with many communities lacking any kind of local resources for kids,
believe me, the juvenile justice system and to a certain extent even the adult criminal
justice system is still a major player, particularly with homeless youth.
Engaging our juvenile justice systems, the power, the authority, the leadership of our
local juvenile court judges into a system that engages the child welfare system, the
local continuum of care, certainly the education department's educational homeless liaisons
is all part of a local fabric that at the federal level, you can encourage.
>> Hopefully that's what we'd be trying to test out in the pilot.
>> That's exactly right. >> Those kind of wraparound strategies leveraging
assets. >> That's right.
I mean, and I think that the pilots you scribed earlier is a good example where we are looking
at the issue of family homelessness in child welfare, but if you look closely at that great
opportunity, it calls on communities to bring together their employment agency and their
child welfare agency with their mental health and housing so bringing them together in one
place and find out how the best way to coordinate systems is really critical, we'll learn that
there, weigh ought to learn that in the work that we're doing here.
Can I point out one other thing that's really important about the homelessness issue as
it relates to the juvenile justice population, there's a link to education too, which is
there are a lot of young people who leave the juvenile justice system still eligible
to re enter schools. If we can get them back in school, we have
a protective factor. for many of them, we lose them because we
can't get them back in schools. the more the juvenile justice system can work
with education around re enrollment for young people, particularly those motivated to go
back, it could make a huge difference in terms of leveraging a protective factor, which is
a young person wanting to be back in school and completing their education.
So I think there's a real opportunity here to look at the nexus as a contributing factor
for homeless youth.
>> Certainly discharge planning is important, developing single points of contact in different
agencies critical. I would also say youth voice is something
we need to bring to the table, to the extent that local communities, state and federal
governments can have youth at the table, talking about what policies work for them, what policies
don't work, what may be barriers for success. That is critical to our efforts, and it's
a high recommendation from education to have youth at the table at all those levels, particularly
given local communities, and we have youth that come to Washington all the time who are
not bashful who would be willing to tell their stories and talk about these policies, so
that would be another piece. >> Before we turn the program over to Barbara
for some updates, I want to make sure, we have about five more minutes on this discussion
and we need to also hopefully give some direction forward, but see if there's other of our partner
departments or agencies who want to make any comments, offer any suggestions.
>> They've all been put up. >> hello, everyone.
I'm Wendy Spencer, brand new to Washington, D.C., and I'm the new CEO for the corporation
for national and community service, and delighted to be helping focus on this important issue
from our resources at the corporation, and glad to be your partner in this.
It's an area that I feel passionately about, working in communities in Florida and from
where I come from with United Way and some other boards, other agencies that have focused
on homelessness issues, youth and adults. I will say put an edge if for Dana Scott,
good to meet you. I liked your suggestion about education of
being on the I'm coming late to the game, but in the intervention strategies, I think
that is very important. Everybody's acknowledged that, and I certainly
offer our resources at the corporation with Americorps, senior corps and the social invasion
fund, it's a bit of a sweet for us, in mentoring and tutoring children, we have some great
success in turning children around who are being influenced by mentors who are engaged
solely on them as an individual and making sure that they are lifted up, and we see this
time and time again, if they'll take greater interest in education, in themselves as an
individual and gain confidence as a student and as a young person, that they will start
walking a better walk, so just one of many ways that I feel like we can help, but excited
to be serving with you on this council, secretary, and offer our support in any way we can, so
thank you. >> You're welcome.
>> Has there been any thought of engaging emergency rooms, specifically in the areas
where you have high youth homelessness? as a former ER nurse, you would see certain
kids coming in all the time, and depending on their age, unless it was a life or death
situation, I'd have to triage them, put them in the waiting area trying to find some adult.
But there are also patterns of youth who return to ER for various reasons, so trying to get
information from emergency room staff or social workers about what we call in the ER repeaters?
>> I couldn't agree more. At lighthouse in Cincinnati, one of our largest
sources of referral are emergency rooms and our local Children's Hospital.
When kids come out of the hospital and there's no parent willing to take them home, or that
can be found. So if we can't find the emergency rooms to
partner with, I'm sure they'll find us. It's a wonderful simpatico kind of helpful
relationship between hospitals and youth shelters, absolutely.
Thank you for addressing that. >> There's one other connection to the point
that you made, which is the reason why we wanted to do the early point in time exercise
to really begin to identify what are the other institutions in communities that these young
people come into contact with that can be a source for us getting an accurate picture
of how many young people are on the streets, and certainly emergency rooms which fall into
that category of a community institution that we want to be working with in that point of
time count so we can get as accurate a picture as possible, so that's another aspect of tying
to emergency rooms. >> So in terms of the councilmembers, what
do you think about moving ahead on strategies? it seems to me we've heard a couple of things
loud and clear. Nan has told us very clearly, we're too late
but we need to pick up the pace, so data, I think, is pretty critical and certainly
incorporating the education data into the steps.
We also have some strategies around targeting, and I hear Dana's point about individual plans
and individual assessments. Having said that, there are categories, I
think, of kids we might start those individual assessments with who have higher risk categories,
but I'm interested in whether or not you think we have a framework to move forward or you
think we need to amend what we're talking about?
>> I would move that we endorse the framework and I will specifically commit that on the
HMIS piece, my staff will engage very quickly actually they're already engaged, but that
we will complete taking Nan's advice, complete that as quickly as possible, a no brainer,
as Bob has said, and to take other actions we can to support the framework.
>> Other thoughts, comments? I'm going to ask our three guests quickly
if you have some final thoughts to leave us with.
Again, I appreciate we never have enough time to tap in, but now that you've made yourselves
available, this is just a starting conversation. and we've get your strategies, but I don't
know, Nan, if you have any >> Just maybe to say that in terms of coordination,
the homeless program started up being program based not assistance base.
I think over time there's really a system developing there, and it seems like taking
advantage of that to merge some of the youth programs into that which involves emergency
rooms and should involve more child welfare and juvenile justice programs but generally
does involve justice program, housing programs, your own programs, seems like there's an opportunity
there to jump start rather than create a parallel separate system, try to merge it more in some
ways so there's a homeless system. >> I just had a grandson yesterday.
>> Congratulations.
>> So I'm thinking in terms of pregnancy. and I'm thinking this moment is pregnant with
opportunity for us to do great things. We can end homelessness in youth in the year
2020, but we've only got eight years to do it.
So we've got to get moving, we've get to get moving now.
I am so thankful for the leadership that you have taken and that our council has taken.
Thank you. >> Dana?
>> I would agree with those comments as well. I would just I would say that as we look at
numbers and numbers are critical to mark our success, it's also important not to lose sight
that these are kids, and I fear sometimes we'll focus so hard on the numbers that we'll
lose sight of the fact that kids are sleeping in cars this evening.
and so to the extent that we can couple good data collection, strategic planning in the
days ahead with immediate actions that we can take today, I would, on behalf of our
1 million homeless students across the nation, ask you to look at those immediate steps as
well, even as we continue to move forward with the strategic strategy in the days ahead.
Thank you for having me here, and thank you for your leadership.
>> Well, thank you all for being with us. I want to recognize, again, Bryan Samuels
and the work that you and the staff and our agency for planning and evaluation and that
staff and others, as a follow up, we will certainly be engaged and involved in both
looking at how fast we can put the existing data systems together, how fast we can incorporate,
and I think you heard secretary Duncan talking about the education data, we'll get that at
the table, but also maybe launching pilots, I think the notion of putting the pilots in
the area where the community back to our community question, is already at the table so you don't
spend months, in terms of jump starting experiments to see what works, if the community is already
there engaged and involved, we could probably have gone a piece down the road so that strikes
me as being very important, and Bryan said, I think, an important thing that Dana has
echoed. Children are not just small adults.
They need different strategies, different activities, one of the keys is not only the
important link that school can play and in reconnecting kids, but it strikes me also,
the family plays a very different role with a homeless youth than they do with a homeless
adult. So it's a whole different way of thinking
about systems of care and outreach and how to reconnect people, but I think this is really
an exciting launch of an effort that, as Bob said, we only have eight years left, so let's
get going.