Current Research

RHYTTAC is committed to identifying and sharing the latest research impacting runaway and homeless youth and RHY service providers. These links will be frequently updated so please be sure to check back to stay abreast of the latest research in RHY and youth-related fields. If you have a request for information or literature reviews on a specific topic, please email those requests to the RHYTTAC Evidence-Based Practices and Outcome Specialist Stacy Meadows at

Services to domestic minor victims of sex trafficking: Opportunities for engagement and support

Services to domestic minor victims of sex trafficking: Opportunities for engagement and support

Deborah A. Gibbs a,⁎, Jennifer L. HardisonWalters a, Alexandra Lutnick b, Shari Miller a, Marianne Kluckman


Human trafficking of young people is a social problem of growing concern. This paper reports selected findings from an evaluation of three programs serving domestic minor victims of human trafficking. Participants in this study were funded to identify and serve male and female victims of sex or labor trafficking who were less than 18 years old and were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Programs provided case management and comprehensive services, either directly or through community collaboration. Evaluation data included data on client characteristics, service needs and services delivered; key informant interviews with program staff and partner agencies; and case narrative interviews in which program staff provided in-depth descriptions of clients' histories. All clients served were known or believed to be sex trafficked. The majority of clients needed crisis intervention, safety planning, educational support, mental health services, and employment services. Although they were diverse in terms of demographics and circumstances, two common patterns were of homeless young people exchanging sex to meet survival needs and young people were emotionally engaged with their trafficker. Key findings include the diversity of trafficked minors, the challenge of initial and continued engagement with service delivery, the structural and resource barriers to long-term support for young people, and the potential contribution of programs specifically addressing trafficked minors. A framework linking services to young people's circumstances and outcome areas is proposed.


Children and Youth Services Review

Volume 54, July 2015, Pages 1–7

To access article for more information:  

Sex in the (Non) City: Teen Childbearing in Rural America

The National Campaign just released this study of teen pregnancy in rural areas throughout the country.

Brief description from website:

Despite remarkable progress in reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates, many have wondered about particular segments of the population compare to others on rates of early pregnancy and childbearing. In particular, how do teen births compare in rural versus urban areas? In an effort to address this question, in 2013 The National Campaign released a first of its kind analysis of teen childbearing in rural America.Our analysis showed that, in 2010 (the most recent data available by county), the teen birth rate in rural counties was nearly one-third higher compared to rates in the rest of the country, and rates in rural areas have been falling more slowly than rates in non-rural areas. This follow-up report focuses specifically on explaining the why behind the high rates of teen births in rural areas.

To access more information and additional resources, click the following link:

Citation: Ng, A. S. & Kaye, K. (2015). Sex in the (Non)City: Teen Childbearing in Rural America. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.



America's Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness

The American Institutes for Research and the National Center on Family Homelessness just released the following report in November 2014.

From the Executive Summary:

America’s Youngest Outcasts reports on child homelessness in the United States based on the most recent federal data that comprehensively counts homeless children, using more than 30 variables from over a dozen established data sets.  A staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. Child homelessness increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia from 2012 to 2013. Children are homeless in every city, county, and state—every part of our country.


America’s Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness. (2014). Waltham, MA: The National
Center on Family Homelessness at American Institutes for Research.

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States

The National Institue of Justice just released a report from research completed by the Urban Institue,, and Northeastern University exploring labor trafficking in the United States.

Brief description from Urban Institute:

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

USICH Framework To End Youth Homelessness Report

USICH: Framework to End Youth Homelessness: A Resource Text for Dialogue and Action - February 2013 release

UNICEF: Hidden in Plain Sight: A Statistical Analysis of Violence Against Children

UNICEF just released the following report highlighting data from 190 countries on the various forms of violence against children. This 206 page report discusses physical violence, sexual violence, peer to peer violence, violence in adolescents, and much more. Click on the link below to access the article, it will take you to UNICEF's website where you can download the report.

Linked to report with permission.

United Nations Children’s Fund, Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children, UNICEF, New York, 2014.

Data Trends: Treating Young People with Co-occurring Disorders: What Works?

In the Summer 2014 issue of Focal Point, a research review publication from the Research and Training Center of Pathways to Positive Futures highlights issues related to co-occurring disorders and young adults. This particular article highlights two approaches to working with young adults with co-occurring disorders.

Check out the full issue here for other resources and articles.

Development, Testing, and Use of a Valid and Reliable Assessment Tool for Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Programming Using Culturally Appropriate Methodologies

A recently published article from the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work. Here is the abstract for the article:

This article documents how culturally appropriate research methods were used to develop and construct a valid and reliable assessment tool to measure program outcomes in an agency providing services to urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youths and families. The tool was developed to provide a psychometrically sound way to assess Native youths’ progress toward culturally defined indicators of youth success. Assessment data collected are simultaneously used to evaluate the effectiveness of social services in ways that are meaningful to this AI/AN community, researchers, and potential funders. This research establishes a foundation and framework for creating assessment tools in other AI/AN- specific agencies.

To cite this article: L. Kris Gowen , Abby Bandurraga , Pauline Jivanjee , Terry Cross & Barbara
J. Friesen (2012) Development, Testing, and Use of a Valid and Reliable Assessment Tool
for Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Programming Using Culturally Appropriate
Methodologies, Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 21:2, 77-94, DOI:

This article has open access, so readers are able to read the full text of the article by following the link below.

Street Outreach Program Data Collection Project - Executive Summary

Just released on October 22, 2014, This is the executive summary from the SOP Data Collection Project. Once the full report is released, RHYTTAC will add it to this entry.

Brief description: From March 2013 through September 2013, 656 young people who were experiencing homelessness between the ages of 14-21 were interviewed for the project. This summary provides a portrait of the homeless young people in areas served by 11 SOP grantees. Although the sample is not nationally representative, the data provide detailed information about the experiences and service needs of the 656 street youth from around the country who participated in the project. The intent is that data from the project will be used to inform service design to better meet the needs of street youth who obtain and access services through street outreach programs.

Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees

The below report was published January 2014, this excerpt is from the executive summary in the report:

Some government and private organizations are interested in improving services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who run away from home or experience homelessness. These efforts are prompted, in part, by research suggesting LGBTQ youth may be at greater risk for experiencing homelessness and, if they become homeless, more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience victimization, engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, and have poor mental health.

To better understand provider experiences serving LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth (RHY), the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in HHS’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF), sponsored case studies of four local agencies receiving grants from ACF’s RHY Program. The purpose of the study, conducted by Mathematica and its subcontractor, the Williams Institute, was to learn about programs’ strategies for identifying and serving LGBTQ RHY, the challenges programs face in understanding and addressing the needs of this population, and potential areas for future research.


HUD's Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: A Review of the Literature and Program Typology

In 2012, HUD released the following report examining the research and literature on various factors related to housing for youth aging out of foster care. Here is a brief overview:

Most young people in the United States are experiencing an increasingly prolonged transition to adulthood. It is no longer assumed that they will automatically become self-sufficient adults on their 18th or even 21st birthdays (Arnett 2000; Wight, Xhau, Aratani, Schwarz, and Thampi 2010; Setterstein and Ray 2010). Rather, young people are gradually taking on the roles and responsibilities traditionally associated with adulthood while they acquire the education and work experience needed to become economically independent (Berlin, Furstenberg, and Waters 2010).

In this document, we summarize what is known about the housing needs and outcomes common to young people who age out of foster care. We explore the current landscape of programs and resources available to assist such young adults with housing. In the first section, we review the literature on the characteristics of the young people, their risk of homelessness, and the barriers they face in securing stable housing, along with relevant federal and, to a lesser extent, state policies. In the second section, we describe a wide range of housing programs for young people aging out of foster care, present a program typology, and conclude with the identification of a small group of innovative housing programs that may warrant closer exploration.


RHYTTAC hopes that you find the information in this report helpful to you in your work with young people experiencing homelessness.

Weeding out the information: an ethnographic approach to exploring how young people make sense of the evidence on cannabis

The following article was published in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2013:

Here is a brief excerpt from the abstract, you can view the full article by clicking on the pdf or web link listed below:

Contradictory evidence on cannabis adds to the climate of confusion regarding the health harms related to use. This is particularly true for young people as they encounter and make sense of opposing information on cannabis. Knowledge translation (KT) is in part focused on ensuring that knowledge users have access to and understand best evidence; yet, little attention has focused on the processes youth use to weigh scientific evidence. There is growing interest in how KT efforts can involve knowledge users in shaping the delivery of youth-focused public health messages. To date, the youth voice has been largely absent from the creation of public health messages on cannabis.

This study demonstrates the feasibility of involving young people in knowledge translation initiatives that target peers. Youth participants demonstrated that they were capable of reading scientific literature and had the capacity to engage in the creation of evidence-informed public health messages on cannabis that resonate with young people. Rather than simply being the target of KT messages, they embraced the opportunity to engage in dialogue focused on cannabis.


Moffat et al.: Weeding out the information: an ethnographic approach to exploring how young people make sense of the evidence on cannabis. Harm Reduction Journal 2013 10:34.


Study Reveals that it's More Common for Youth to Run Away who have Parents that Binge Drink

This article highlights a study recently released by National Runaway Safeline.

Social Connections Can Help to Reduce Depression

Earlier this season, Psych Central published this linked article about the correlation between social connections and the decrease in depressive symptoms. The links embedded in the article lead to further resources on the topic. Permission was given to RHYTTAC to link to this article.


APA Reference:

Nauert, R. (2014). Social Connections Can Help to Reduce Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 29, 2014, from

Meditation Shows Promise in Relieving Anxiety and Depression

A recent article posted on the National Alliance on Mental Illness' (NAMI) website discussed a research study by John Hopkins University School of Medicine showing the evidence of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Click on the link below to read the article. Below that link you will also find a link to the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse registry listing on Mindfulness Cognitive Behavior Therapy for more information.

Invisible No More: Creating Opportunities for Youth who are Homeless

A recently released study from The Consultation Center through Yale University's School of Medicine, focuses on youth experiencing homelessness in Connecticut. A total of 98 young people were interviewed in five different areas in Conneticut who were identified as "housing insecure youth" or "youth experiencing housing insecurity." The report gives a thorough look at the experiences of young people and comes out with strong recommendations for the Connecticut area which can inform other regions addressing youth homelessness.


This article has been shared with the permission of Derrick M. Gordon, Ph. D. and Bronwyn Hunter, Ph. D., the two researchers who co-authored the report from The Consultation Center.

Young People in Recovery: Building a Movement

While historically there have been few resources specifically tailored to the unique needs of youth in recovery... this is starting to change. Adults, families, youth, schools, community programs, and researchers are beginning to work together to create the support systems necessary to help youth sustain their recovery.

This article is found in the Prevention Researcher, it along with other articles relating to young people can be found at


File Attachment:

young people in recovery.pdf

"Well, if you can't smile you should go home!" Experiences and reflective insights on providing outreach to young sex trade workers

The following article is Reprinted from Children and Youth Services Review Vol 35 Issue 8, Kennedy Saldanha and Derek Parenteau, "Well, if you can't smile you should go home!" Experiences and reflective insights on providing outreach to young sex trade workers, pgs 1276 - 1283, Copyright (2013) with permission from Elsevier and the journal can be accessed through Science Direct at

Author's Abstract: This case study relates experiences and candid reflections of front-line staff in the STAND program (Street Trade Alternatives and New Directions) providing outreach to young sex trade workers in downtown Toronto. The authors describe how this project came to be and the lessons learned in setting it up and providing services to this vulnerable, very hard to reach but resilient population. Through a sharing of tales and narratives of outreach, the authors corroborate some of the reasons why there is much written on outreach but little specifically about reaching out to sex trade workers. The traditional responses and approaches in working with children and youth are also questioned in light of negotiating power, building relationships, and actively waiting for the client to lead the change process.



Supported Education as a Vital Route to Competitive Employment

In the new issue from Focal Point, the article explores the connection between the evidence based practice of Supported Employment and Support Education for transition age youth with mental health conditions.

This article along with other resources and articles can be found at Pathway To Positive Futures website:


Unaccompanied Youth Intervention Model

The Unaccompanied Youth Intervention Model was presented by ACYF Commissioner, Bryan Samuels at the 2012 RHY Grantee Conference. The model focused on risk and protective factors while considering system and organizational level planning. The model distinguishes between the three levels of risk for homeless youth: lower risk, at-risk and risky, based on the level of risk and protective factors present for youth.


Street Youth More Likely to Trade Sex for Food, Shelter if They were Abused as Children

New research led by Ryerson University suggests street youth who have been sexually abused as children tend to trade sex for basic needs such as food, shelter and clothes.

The Heterogeneity of Homeless Youth in America: Examining Typologies

The Homeless Research Institute, September 2011 issue published by The National Alliance to End Homelessness includes an article by Paul Toro and colleagues about homeless youth.  The article explains the various typologies used for categorizing homeless youth and the implications on services with this three-category typology.

Trends Showing Youth Reporting High Levels of Economic Problems

The Wall Street Journal posted an article describing an increase in economic problems among youth and references National SafeLine's trend report newly released. To view the report in whole visit


Behavioral Health Services for People Who are Homeless

Part of SAMSHA's Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) series, this document is developed for practitioners, administrators, and so on to inform and transform practice specifically in the area of behavioral health services for individuals who are homeless. The document is divided into three parts: 1. A Practical Guide for the Provision of Behavioral Health Services; 2. An Implementation Guide for Behavioral Health Program Administrators; and 3. A Review of the Literature

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Services for People Who Are Homeless. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 55. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4734. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,2013.

Focal Point Summer Issue 2011

Focal Point is produced by the Pathways Research and Training Center (RTC ) at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. This issue includes a focus on Healthy Relationships.

File Attachment:

Focal Point v. 25.pdf