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Youth Status Report

At the heart of Covenant House's mission is the commitment to serve and assist all homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth. In order to provide the highest-quality services and advocacy for this population, Covenant House must draw upon the most current information available regarding youth well-being on national, state, and local levels.

Youth Status Report Series

Indicators of well-being include levels of poverty, educational attainment, employment, placement in foster care and juvenile justice systems, pregnancy, alcohol and substance use, and mental and physical health. Research conducted over the past decade has revealed strong associations between these indicators and youth homelessness.

The Covenant House Institute produced this series of reports to inform service delivery and advocacy efforts, specifically with regard to program development; fundraising initiatives; legislative recommendations; and raising awareness among local, state, and federal officials. The findings in these reports can play a pivotal role in determining priorities and developing strategies. They provide a comparative analysis of 24 indicators of well-being. Our analysis revealed the following key issues are of particular concern:

  • High percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds in poverty (19%)
  • High percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds who represent all 18-to-44-year-olds without a high school diploma or GED (32%)
  • High rate of unemployment among 20-to-24-year-olds (11.2%) compared to 20-to-64-year-olds (5.2%)
  • 27% increase from 2002 to 2006 in the number of individuals emancipating from care
  • Variable flux (5%-20%) from 1997 to 2006 in the number of individuals 18 years of age or older in juvenile residential placement facilities
  • 4% increase in the birth rates among 18-to-19- and 20-to-24-year-old females in 2006
  • High percentage of monthly cigarette use among 18-to-25-year-olds (45%) compared to individuals 26 years of age or older (25%)
  • High percentage of monthly marijuana use among 18-to-25-year-olds (16%) compared to individuals 26 years of age or older (4%)
  • High percentage of monthly illicit drug use (excluding marijuana) among 18-to-25-year-olds (9%) compared to individuals 26 years of age or older (3%)
  • Elevated percentage of monthly alcohol use among 18-to-25-year-olds (61%) compared to individuals 26 years of age or older (54%)
  • High percentage of monthly binge alcohol use among 18-to-25-year-olds (42%) compared to individuals 26 years of age or older (21%)
  • High percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds without healthcare coverage (29%) compared to all 18-to-64-year-olds (17%)
  • High percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds not receiving annual dental care (30%)
  • High percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds who represent all homicide victims (26%)

Each report targets a city where Covenant House has a program site.