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Counting and Surveying Homeless Youth
Solutions Brief | January 26, 2012
Files: PDF | 117 KB | 6 pages
DCAYA was formed in 2004 by agencies serving youth to address the lack of developmental opportunities and safe spaces for young people when they were out of school in Washington, D.C. Approximately 20 community organizations, along with youth and concerned residents, joined together to form DCAYA to advocate for youth. Today DCAYA is a nonprofit membership organization with over 100 members.
Why the Study of Homeless and Unstably Housed Youth?
Increased information will allow the District of Columbia, and other local communities that conduct youth specific counts and surveys to more accurately assess the scale of the problem and allow improved targeting of services and interventions. Targeted youth-specific counts and surveys provide an opportunity for communities to improve street outreach efforts to get youth to safe places; to know how to better reunify youth with their families when they come to a drop-in center in need of help because they have run away from home; and to better prepare youth living in transitional living programs for self-sufficiency by accessing education, employment, and stable housing. Moreover, homeless youth are at increased risk of commercial sexual exploitation, better information will also help to address this problem.
Developing Key Partnerships
DCAYA made a concerted effort to attract a research partner to help with the development of the survey instrument, data collection, and analysis. DCAYA staff developed an abstract proposal and contacted faculty in the city’s universities who might be interested in supporting the study which proved useful in building support. Dr. Young of the Trachtenberg School agreed to provide support, and connected DCAYA to two university professors overseeing the final capstone projects of graduate students at Trachtenberg. He facilitated a partnership between a group of interested students and DCAYA.
The graduate students helped inform the design of the survey instrument, completed data input, and conducted initial data analysis. The study design and instruments were submitted and approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. The IRB process ensures that the research method is sound, that the study will protect the rights of the individuals being surveyed and that their privacy will be honored. The partnership with the University resulted in significant cost savings and support from graduate students which allowed for a more comprehensive study than would otherwise have been possible with the available resources.
This is an excerpt from the document. To read the whole document, please download using the link above.