New Report Highlights Shared Experiences, Challenges and Recommendations for Serving LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth

A new report released by the Administration for Children & Families highlights the experiences of four Family and Youth Services Bureau grantees as they serve runaway and homeless youth that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

“Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees” sheds light on the experiences of service providers as they help LGBTQ youth living on their own, including lessons learned and re-occurring challenges. Report author Mathematica Policy Research visited FYSB grantees in Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and Texas to collect information spanning basic center, transitional living and street outreach programs in rural and urban areas.

For example, researchers found that two of the four agencies collect information on sexual orientation in their intake and assessment forms, while three include questions on gender identity that include an option for transgender youth. Still, agencies say that some young people and staff members are hesitant to record these characteristics because of their sensitivity.

ACF’s Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, which sponsored the report, also received research recommendations in six key areas. These include pinpointing characteristics such as race and identification as transgender that may contribute to LGBTQ youth homelessness, and common risk and protective factors among young people impacted.

“FYSB’s grantees are working every day with young people in need of shelter and support, including a disproportionate number of LGBTQ youth,” says Associate Commissioner Bill Bentley. “By reaching out to those on the ground, we can provide the tools that strengthen their efforts and improve our nation’s collective response to youth in need.”