As communities recognize the need to focus on prevention alongside supports for exiting homelessness, there are opportunities to adapt the HF4Y model. HF4Y programs can support youth leaving care, youth leaving adult or juvenile corrections, and youth leaving mental health care. In many circumstances, youth leaving public systems are transitioning right into homelessness.
Nearly 60% of youth who are homeless have had previous involvement with Child Protection Services.
Why are youth vulnerable when transitioning from public systems like child welfare and juvenile justice?
Consider some contributing factors:
- The child protection model offers “family setting” without permanency. Youth may lack a sense of belonging or uncertainty about their identity
- Children in care lack stability, often experiencing multiple placements in different communities. A lack of stability during care is associated with negative outcomes across a range of domains.
- Transitioning out of care is not a seamless process. Transitions are also a time of increased risk for youth.
- Child protection services and supports end when young people age out of care (age 16 or 18 in Canada)
As you read about the HF4Y program in the next section, consider the following questions:
- How does the organization apply the case management model in different ways from traditional support programs?
- What unique partnerships has the Free 2 Be program developed?
- Why is it especially important that Free 2 Be program staff to devote time to trust and relationship building with participants?