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Homeless Youth Essay

1262 words - 6 pages

Powers, Jane L. and Barbara Jaklitsch. Reaching the Hard to Reach. Education & Urban Society, Volume 25, Issue 4, August 1993. At some point in time, all teenagers are expected to leave home and venture out on their own. Separating from parents and gaining independence are two central tasks that teenagers must overcome in order to become adults. Teenagers usually learn how to make this transition through either home or school. Unfortunately, there are some teens today that do not fully develop these two tasks before deciding to leave home. These teens are the teens that we see out on American streets today. Leaving home at an early age can be devastating to the teenager, the ...view middle of the document...

This not only affects their current situation, but it also affects their future as well. Although some states have set up programs to assist homeless youth in gaining an education, the teen population still remains virtually ignored. In this journal article, the definition of homeless adolescents is "unaccompanied youth who live independently of their families." When referring to the governmental definition, there is a difference between the homeless youth and the runaway youth. The runaway youth is defined as a person who is "under the age of 18 and has been away from his or her home or legal residence at least overnight, without the permission of a parent or guardian. The runaway has chosen to leave home and has a home in which he or she can return (395)." The homeless youth is defined as an individual who "has no shelter and needs services providing supervision and care." It is important to understand definitional issues when estimating the scope of the problem of youth homelessness. It is very difficult to obtain an accurate account of homeless youth. The US Department of Justice found that at least 500,000 youth under age 18 become runaways and throwaways each year. Other studies have found that there are 2 to 3 million youth between the ages of 10 to 17 years are living on the streets, in abandoned buildings, or in "welfare" hotels. This means that there is anywhere from 1/2 million to 3 million uneducated, homeless youth on American streets today. Due to lack of education, homeless teens are being exploited by adults. This means that the youth is likely to become involved in criminal activity. The length of time a young person has been on the streets should be considered in determining their educational needs. Increased time on the streets makes it harder to reach kids and serve them. Age is also a factor that needs to be considered when trying to serve the homeless youth. Youth under the age of 16 are required by law to attend school. Due to this, it is easier to force youth into school. Youth over the age of 16, however are not required to attend school. This causes it to be much harder to force these teens to engage in educational services and activities. Some of the problems that face homeless youth in receiving an education are: street life, substance abuse, living conditions, health problems. Street life, in general, is difficult for the homeless teen. They have to worry about where they are going to eat, sleep, and live. This causes youth to have a difficult time trying to survive, much less allowing them to worry about where and how to go to school. Homeless youth have a high rate of substance abuse. Illegal...

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