Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
I have just learned of a human services issue that the Board should be aware of.
Last Friday, DSS staff engaged in a work group discussion on the topic of unaccompanied - undocumented youth living in the County. There are currently 488 unaccompanied youth in Mecklenburg County.
According to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), unaccompanied homeless youth are youth experiencing homelessness while not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. It is estimated that 1.6 to 1.7 million youth experience homelessness on their own each year. These youth live in a variety of unsafe, temporary situations -- including cars, parks, shelters, motels and homes of other people. Many unaccompanied youth are also undocumented residents.
DSS is working with the Latin American Coalition, CMS, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, area churches and medical service providers to develop a working plan. The group is in the very early stages of addressing this issue and is still in the process of creating a complete action plan with a timeline.
I will continue to update you on this issue as more information becomes available.