Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Who uses community-based youth shelters? An inter-group and intra-group analysis
by McClendon, Jennifer Rachel, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2009, 139; 3369214
Abstract (Summary)

Community-based youth shelters are the primary method of intervention designed to meet the complex needs of at-risk youth who leave home before they have developed the skills to live independently. This research examines shelter users' patterns of cross-sector service use to better understand the needs and resources of shelter residents. The aims of this study are (1) to perform an inter-group analysis, comparing sheltered youth with status offense runaways and foster care runaways, and (2) to explore the population of emergency shelter residents using an intra-group analysis, determining whether distinct profiles of sheltered youth exist, based on individual characteristics and service use patterns over time.

The study samples were drawn from a larger longitudinal study of services and outcomes. The samples included subjects born between 1981 and 1992 who were reported for child maltreatment and/or lived in families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children during childhood. For the first Aim, the sample included subjects identified as runaway by the court system (status offense runaways), foster care runaways, and sheltered youth. The sample for the second aim included only sheltered youth.

Bivariate analyses found differences between runaway groups in terms of poverty, maltreatment history, school-identified disability, report of neglect, receipt of family services, delinquent offenses, truancy, ethnicity, and parent mental health or substance abuse treatment. Controlling for covariates in the multinomial logistic regression, only age discriminated between all three groups.

Just 20% of the sheltered youth ran away from their previous residence or spent time living on the street. Latent class analysis suggests sheltered youth fall into four clearly distinct categories, clearly defined by connection to school and family. These include: (1) a "parent time-out" group (attending school and living with family), (2) a school/behavior problem group (not attending school and living with family), (3) youth in DFS custody placed at the shelter (disconnected from family but attending school), and (4) multi-problem youth (disconnected from both school and family).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jonson-Reid, Melissa
Commitee: Kohl, Patricia, Pena, Juan, Spitznagel, Ed, Striley, Catherine, Vosler, Nancy
School: Washington University in St. Louis
Department: Social Work
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Public policy
Keywords: Foster care runaways, Homeless, Homeless youth, Runaway youth, Status offense runaways, Youth shelters
Publication Number: 3369214
ISBN: 978-1-109-31070-2
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