The SOP program works to get runaway and homeless youth living on the streets or in areas that increase the risk of sexual exploitation off of the streets. And the study focused on eleven cities with SOPs.
Key findings include that the youth surveyed reported that:
The most commonly reported reason for becoming homeless the first time was being asked to leave by a parent or caregiver (51%.)
Only 30% percent of participants reported they had the option of returning home.
On average, participants had been homeless for a total lifetime rate of 23.4 months and reported first becoming homeless at age 15.
Almost two-thirds of participants (62%) reported symptoms associated with depression and were at risk for experiencing clinical depression.
Almost two-thirds (61%) of youth had experienced victimization.
The report finds that, not surprisingly, homeless youth are a very diverse group and require a variety of services and supports that can be tailored to their individual needs.
It points to a need for better a better coordinated system of care and more cooperation between all levels of government agencies.
Recommendations made by the report include more youth shelter beds, intensive case management, and targeted support services and interventions.