Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unaccompanied Youth

An unaccompanied youth is a young person that has no stable place to live and no stable guardianship. They have been forced to leave home because of family problems, economic problems, and residential instability. They live in hotels, motels, cars, parks, campgrounds, or relative or friends house. Living on the streets leaves youth at extreme risk for sexual exploitation, substance abuse, and other mental and emotional problems. These youth face a tumultuous time in their lives and are just trying to make it by.

Unaccompanied youth value their education, perhaps even more than children who have stable homes. They wish to go to school because they recognize the importance and know it is a way to make their future brighter. Yet research shows that the vast majority of unaccompanied youth do not finish high school. 

This can surely be accounted for by the seriousness of homelessness. They have to struggle to ensure they have their basic needs. They have to undergo the severe emotional and physical stress psychologically. 

Now some unaccompanied youth are able to make it through high school, but this is only made possible through assistance from educators and adults and supportive services. They are able to find a place to live and have their basic needs met. While they receive the services however, they may still experience extreme stress and emotional instability because they are unsure or how long the circumstances will last. 

These youth experiencing homelessness need help if they are going to remain in school. First and foremost, their basic needs must be met. They must be able to have the shelter, food, and health services that they need. Additionally, the students need to feel safe in their school environment through the help of mentors, welcoming schools to all minority groups, and revision of legislature. Those unaccompanied youth that have removed themselves from school need to be drawn back through the help of caring individuals that want to help. Welfare policies regarding children need to be revised. Lastly, those agencies that aim to help unaccompanied youth need to work together to provide wrap around service for every child.

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