Out of the System and onto the Streets: LGBTQ-Identified Youth Experiencing Homelessness with Past Child Welfare System Involvement

Mar 1, 2019
Nicholas Forge, Robin Hartinger-Saunders, Eric Wright, and Erin Ruel for Child Welfare Journal
In 2015, approximately 21,000 youth in the United States became emancipated-commonly referred to as "aged out"-from the foster care system; neither being adopted nor reunified with their family of origin, and were therefore expected to live independent lives. In addition to the youth who aged out, nearly 1,000 youth ran away from foster care. Over the past two decades, studies have consistently indicated a strong association between experiencing homelessness and having prior placement in the foster care system. Youth who age out of foster care are among the populations at the greatest risk of becoming homeless with as many as half of youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability within 18 months of their exit from the foster care system. While precise population statistics on the number of youth experiencing homelessness are difficult to ascertain, it is estimated that approximately 1.24 million will face an episode of homelessness in a given year, representing approximately seven percent of the total population who are homeless.
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