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New Study Shows That One-Third of Shelter Youth Have Been Institutionalized; Almost One-Half Suffered Violence in the Home
Date:3/10/2009

NEW YORK, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of the largest-ever studies of homeless youth in New York City history, researchers at Columbia University's Center for Homelessness Prevention, in partnership with Covenant House -- the City's largest agency serving street youth, offer a stark portrait of youth disconnected from the world of work and education and with intense histories of family violence.

"This has got to be a wake-up call for all of us who care about kids," said Kevin M. Ryan, President of Covenant House. "Half of our kids are reporting violence in the home. One in five report being beaten by an object. These kids shared experiences with us that no young person should have to experience."

This joint study is the first released by the Covenant House Institute, established last year to advance research on homeless youth through research partnerships. The study included 444 youth between the ages of 18 and 21 who entered the Covenant House Crisis Shelter for the first time between October 2007 and February 2008.

Other findings from the study revealed much about the path that leads young people to Covenant House in New York:

  • 35 percent had a history of foster care or other institutional placement, averaging three placements and an average of four years. The average of the first placement was nine years old.
  • 68 percent lacked a high school diploma and 77 percent were not currently enrolled in school.
  • 38 percent of youth did not have a birth certificate, 29 percent did not have a social security card, and 57 percent did not have Medicaid.

The report singled out for criticism a budget proposal by New York Governor David Patterson to slash support for runaway and homeless youth services. "It's appalling," said Mr. Ryan of the proposed cuts. "Mayor Bloomberg understands we can't balance the State budget o
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SOURCE Covenant House
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