Stereotypical notions of youth in crisis or youth who are disconnected from their families do our communities a tremendous disservice. They are not simply defiant young people who won’t obey parental authority or come from “bad homes”.
A variety of complicated factors can lead to a young people leaving home. Sometimes they leave because of a pattern of ongoing disagreements with parents; sometimes they leave because it is not safe for them to stay. Some young people have hard things happening in other areas of their life that increase the stresses of growing up and make home life more difficult. Some young people are forced to leave home by parents who can simply no longer afford to provide for a child. Often, youth and families have not been able to access the supports they need to prevent crisis.
Runaway or homeless youth typically can’t be identified by sight. They dress like their peers, act like their peers, hang out with their peers, even continue to attend school with their peers. However, unlike their peers, at the end of the day they may not know where they are going to sleep, or where their next meal will come from, or how long they can stay where they are.
What we know is that youth are incredibly resilient and have so much to offer our communities. VCRHYP believes it is important to make space for youth voices in all aspects of our work, from the direct crisis supports we offer to program planning and statewide advocacy on behalf of youth to ensure services and supports are available for them.
Click on the resources below to hear more directly from youth we work for.