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Saturday, February 10, 2018
Oahu Study: Child Molesters Exploit Drug-Addicted Homeless Youth
By News Release @ 4:06 AM :: 7678 Views :: Family, Hawaii Statistics, Homelessness

The Experience of Homeless, Runaway and Other Street Youth on O‘ahu

From UH Center for the Family, February 9, 2018

This study reveals a range of demographic backgrounds and experiences among street youth:

  • Almost half (44.4%) of those surveyed were Hawaiian or part Hawaiian.
  • The majority of the respondents (58.9%) were male.
  • Nearly a fifth (17.2%) identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning.
  • About a quarter (24.5%) had dropped out of school, and approximately half were considered idle (neither in school nor employed).

Youth reported a variety of living arrangements:

  • 59.6% were living unaccompanied, 33.1% in a family household, and 7.3% as the household head with their own children.
  • At some point in their lives, all of them experienced homelessness and sought temporary places to sleep at night (such as the streets, cars, abandoned buildings, emergency or transitional shelters, and transitional housing).

Respondents offered a picture of their homeless experiences:

  • Almost half (48.0%) had their first homeless experience with their families.
  • The average age of the first homeless episode was 14.1 years.
  • Almost three-fourths (72.2%) were currently homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness.
  • 59.4% reported being homeless for one year or more.
  • Nearly a fifth (17.9%) also considered themselves current runaways or throwaways.
  • The most common reasons for currently being homeless or having been homeless were family discord, lifestyle choice, disagreeing with rules at home, and being kicked out.

The majority of respondents experienced some risk factors for youth homelessness, including:

  • 39.7% had interactions with the foster care system and 48.3% with juvenile detention.
  • Over half (50.3%) had been exposed to parental substance abuse, 60.9% to parental incarceration, and 22.5% were from military families.
  • Over three-quarters (77.5%) experienced abuse.

Respondents’ health issues are of concern:

  • About a quarter (26.2%) described their health as “fair” or “poor” compared to just 5.6% of youth in general U.S. population.
  • 13.9% reported having a physical or developmental disability, or been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
  • 88.1% had used substances in the past 30 days, and 32.5% had been admitted to a drug treatment program.
  • 31.8% had committed self-harming acts such as cutting or burning themselves.
  • 39.7% had suicidal thoughts and 58.3% of them had attempted suicide—indicating that some youth could benefit from treatment that addresses their physical, emotional and psychological health issues.

The types of services that teens and young adults sought can provide insight into the priority of their needs:

  • Services accessed by the majority of respondents included hot meals (75.5%), clothing and hygiene supplies (69.5%), showers (69.5%), laundry facilities (52.3%), and clinic services (50.3%).
  • Respondents preferred services that met basic needs over ones such as airfare assistance for family reunification (4.6%), treatment for substance use (13.9%), and GED classes (15.9%).

… 

Unaccompanied youth are vulnerable to a range of risks and poor outcomes. They face high rates of violence, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation. They are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as substance use, delinquent survival strategies and “survival sex” (i.e., the exchange of sex for money, food, shelter, or drugs). These young people struggle to maintain emotional and physical well-being and often suffer from anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, and poor health and nutrition. …

read … Full Study

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