Runaway and Homeless Youth

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OCFS is committed to supporting high-quality supports and services for runaway and homeless young people that are grounded in Positive Youth Development principles.

Each year, thousands of New York's youth run away from home, are told to leave their homes, or experience homelessness. Youth face these challenges not just in cities, but in suburban and rural communities as well. Often, youth are trying to escape abuse, neglect, or conflict in their homes.

Youth are still developing physically and emotionally and, when they experience homelessness, are less likely to complete their education, develop general life skills, and obtain employment. On the street, youth can become victims of violence, struggle with mental health challenges, engage in substance use, and be forced to trade sex for basic needs.

OCFS supports these young people by licensing, monitoring, and funding emergency and longer-term residential programs, as well as non-residential services to provide a safe and supportive environment.

RHY services are grounded in the Positive Youth Development framework. They focus on supporting and developing healthy relationships to enhance youths’ existing strengths and resiliency, while incorporating youth voice and leadership in programming. Programs recognize that youth are the experts in their own lives and support them to make choices that improve their safety and personal development.

The RHY work supported by OCFS is grounded in the following values and principles:

To learn more about how OCFS works to support youth who left home or are homeless, use the menu on the left.