Implementing Change: Addressing Intersections of Juvenile Justice and Youth Homelessness for Young Adults

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Author(s): The Coalition for Juvenile Justice, the National Network for Youth and the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education and Families

Published: June 2018

Report Intro/Brief:
“Young adults ages 18-24 require specific, targeted services and interventions from the juvenile justice and homelessness service providers with whom they interact if they are to achieve successful outcomes and avoid long term harms. This resource is intended to assist policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders in applying an earlier report, “Addressing the Intersections of Juvenile Justice Involvement and Youth Homelessness: Principles for Change.” (Principles for Change or Principles) in their work with and on behalf of young people in this age group who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system. Specifically, this tool was developed to help communities:

  • Prevent homelessness among juvenile justice-involved young adults; and
  • Decrease the likelihood that young adults experiencing homelessness become involved with the juvenile justice system.

Recommendations for action follow each principle and reflect several core tenets, including:

  • Young people should never enter or remain in the juvenile justice system solely to receive services or to have a safe place to stay. Communities must have housing and other services available that are sufficient to meet youths’ needs.
  • As jurisdictions extend the ages to which they supervise and/or provide services to youth, they must make sure that they have appropriate and sufficient services for older youth. They must also ensure that all opportunities afforded to minors are also afforded to older youth, including diversion and re-entry opportunities.
  • Juvenile records pose a huge barrier to housing and must be addressed for individual youth and at the systems/policy level, by preventing youth from having records in the first place, and, when necessary, by keeping those records from interfering with housing.
  • Education, employment, and physical and behavioral health services are also essential to maintaining safe and stable housing over a young person’s lifetime, and require similar efforts on behalf of youth and at the systems level.
  • Communities must take affirmative steps to ensure improved practices reach youth of color, LGBTQ youth, and other youth who are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system or disproportionately experience homelessness.”


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