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Supportive Housing for CT's Families and Youth

In Connecticut, CSH is working to integrate child welfare and housing systems, with a focus on youth and young adults who are either on their own or transitioning out of state care, and also on families with child welfare involvement. These populations, while overlapping, face unique challenges that require innovative approaches to improve the lives of Connecticut’s most vulnerable young adults and families with children.

CSH and Transition Aged Youth and Young Adults

As a nation and as a state, the field recognizes that addressing homelessness among young adults who are unconnected to service systems or aging out of the foster care system carries unique challenges. This population often lacks or has unstable connection to family, is vulnerable and at high risk for exploitation, lives in poverty, and often has histories of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and abandonment. LGBTQ youth are often disproportionately represented among the population of young adults in need of stable housing and support as they transition to adulthood.

In Connecticut, various supportive housing programs have set aside approximately forty-five units for young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. For the most part, these supportive housing apartments have been added to existing adult programs without specific service guidelines to serve the unique needs of young adults.

CSH is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable and traumatized youth and young adults, and with the generous support of the Melville Charitable Trust, has pursued the goal of advancing opportunities to create young adult supportive housing in Connecticut. CSH is also collaborating with several partners and public systems in CT to build an age-appropriate system of care that is responsive to the developmental needs of youth who lack the formal and informal supports needed to heal from past traumas and succeed as an adult.

CSH and Families with Child Welfare Involvement

CSH, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, provides technical support, facilitates information-sharing, and assists in capacity-building to Intensive Supportive Housing for Families (ISHF), the Connecticut grantee of the federal Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in Child Welfare.

ISHF is testing an intensive approach to serving families who come to the attention of the child welfare system because of problems with chronic or recurring homelessness and other serious, persistent issues such as mental illness, substance abuse, or domestic violence.

The goal is to encourage local implementation of supportive housing services that integrate community services for housing and other critical services for this population, including customized case management services for children and their parents, as well as trauma informed interventions and evidence-based mental health services through partnerships with community-based service providers. Expected outcomes include a reduction in child maltreatment, child removals and foster care placements and overall child welfare system involvement.

ISHF is part of a larger, national demonstration funded by the Administration for Children, Family, and Youth (ACYF) as well as a local evaluation and cost study being conducted by the University of Connecticut’s (UCONN) Center for Applied Research and Human Development.

For more information on child welfare and housing integration efforts in Connecticut, contact Nichole Guerra, CSH Associate Program Manager, at nichole.guerra@csh.org.

 

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