Resources Specific to Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Programs

What do we mean by trauma-informed services and why is such an approach important?

  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed a brief focusing on trauma among homeless youth that makes a great starting point for exploration into trauma in this population.
  • ACF’s Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) has produced this resource tip sheet on what trauma-informed approaches in RHY programs are, and how a trauma lens can help youth served by the program.
  • The National Center on Trauma-Informed Care developed a technical assistance document on Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support for providers who serve women. The guide is a resource to learn how to integrate trauma-informed principles into programs and services for women, and may be particularly useful to Maternity Group Home and Street Outreach RHY programs serving girls.
  • FYSB has created a guide to shifting to trauma-informed care for runaway and homeless youth, focusing on posing youth the question “What has happened to you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?” This introduction includes both materials from program staff and youth consumer points of view. ACF’s Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) has produced this resource tip sheet on what trauma-informed approaches in RHY programs are, and how a trauma lens can help youth served by the program.

My agency has decided it wants to be more trauma-informed. Where do I start?

  • The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health has created a self-reflection tool for culturally competent and trauma-informed domestic violence prevention and services programs. This tool can also be useful to RHY program managers and staff to begin to identify strengths and areas of improvement for the program to respond to the traumatic exposures including family violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence that many runaway and homeless youth have experienced.
  • The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking by the National Academy of Sciences outlines how the science of adolescence continues to progress in identifying the determinants of adolescent behavior; in mapping the complex interactions among those determinants; and in clarifying the way these determinants function through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

How can I/my staff recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in the clients we work with?

  • Supporting Youth in Foster Care in Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Trauma, Treatment & Psychotropic Medications, Many runaway and homeless youth have been involved in the child welfare system. This guide (available in both English and Spanish) is intended to help caseworkers, foster parents, or other caring adults learn about trauma experienced by youth in foster care and treatment options, including approaches other than psychotropic medication. The guide presents strategies for seeking help for youth, identifying appropriate treatment, and supporting youth in making decisions about their mental health. Additionally, this guide serves as a companion guide to the 2012 Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care.

My staff often burn out from dealing with clients’ trauma constantly.  How can I support them?

Where can I learn more about evidence-based and promising interventions to address the effects of trauma?

Research Review of Evidence-Based Practices for RHY in the domains of Trauma/Violence is a literature review developed by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center which is funded by the Family and Youth Service Bureau.


Return to Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services

Back to Top