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ED and Family and Youth Services Bureau Partner to Support National Runaway Prevention Month
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Family and Youth Services Bureau and 
U.S. Department of Education are Partnering to Support  
November is National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM). This public awareness campaign, led by the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), with support from the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), is designed to shine a light on the experiences of runaway and homeless youth, who too often remain invisible. As part of the campaign, individuals, organizations, and communities nationwide work together to prevent youth homelessness.
This year, FYSB’s Runway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Division and the Office of School Support and Accountability in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) programs for students experiencing homelessness at Access additional resources from the National Center for Homeless Education (an ED-funded technical assistance center) at are joining forces to encourage schools, youth-serving organizations, educators, and other school professionals to support and engage in NRPM activities. One important reason for this collaboration is to increase the support of youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability in school settings by connecting them with critical resources and services. Homelessness and educational attainment can impact one another - low educational attainment is a risk factor for homelessness, and homelessness is a risk factor for lower educational attainment. Kull, M.A., Morton, M.H., Patel, S., Curry, S. & Carreon, E. (2019). Missed opportunities: Education among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in America. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. is why collaboration across all levels is an important step toward the prevention of running away incidents and youth homelessness in schools nationwide. 
The Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) programs serve nearly 50,000 young people annually nationwide. RHY Programs play an important role in providing a safe place to stay and a range of supportive services to ensure youths’ well-being. The National Runaway Safeline (NRS), which makes 125,000 contacts through its online and offline services, provides critical support and resources to youth in crisis, youth who run away, and those experiencing housing instability or homelessness. The U.S. Department of Education data indicate that almost 95,000 unaccompanied homeless youth were identified by school districts in the 2020-21 school year. Furthermore, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) most recent Point-In-Time (PIT) Count report indicated that in 2021, on a single night in the United States, 15,763 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 experienced sheltered homelessness.
Housing and Urban Development, Although any youth can experience homelessness, studies suggest that African American and Hispanic youth are at the greatest risk of homelessness, spend longer periods homeless, and have a higher risk of re-entering homelessness afterward. LGBTQ youth have a 120 percent higher risk of experiencing homelessness. Berger Gonzalez, S., Morton, M., Patel, S., & Samuels, B. (2021). Centering racial equity in youth homelessness. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago., Housing and Urban Development. HUD Releases 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1. [Press Release],
Homelessness Among Youth in School 
During the 2019-2020 school year, public schools identified 1.3 million students who experienced homelessness, 2.5 percent of all students enrolled in public schools. National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) (2021). Student Homelessness in America. [Report], Youth and young adults who experience homelessness are much less likely to remain and excel in school than their stably housed peers. 
U.S. schools have support systems in place for these youth, which include designated homeless liaisons in every school district who coordinate among other relevant personnel such as social workers, nurses, transportation, nutrition, and other student support staff. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Helping youth who are experiencing instability due to homelessness in school settings provides substantial benefits: a place of safety and security, a sense of belonging, a consistent and caring environment, an organized and predictable daily schedule, and a feeling of being safe and valued – all of which improve emotional well-being.
National Runaway Prevention Month – Shine a Light in Schools and Communities 
NRPM offers the opportunity to focus on youth experiencing homelessness in school settings. When school officials identify youth experiencing homelessness, critical resources can be provided to the youth for additional support. This includes sharing information about how youth can contact the NRS and services available from local RHY grantee programs. 
Is your school interested in supporting NRPM? Here are steps you can take:
FYSB Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grants
In addition, the Family and Youth Services Bureau at the US Department of Health and Human Services recently announced their FY 22-funded Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program grantees at the following RHY program websites.
These links list the names of the grantees, city and state they’re located in and award amount. Every year there are some changes among grantees. Many of the youth they serve have not graduated from high school yet, so please look at the ones in your State and be sure that the local liaisons where these programs are located are aware of them (and vice versa).
Thanks for your cooperation and coordination!
About the Author

Patrick Rooney is the Director of two offices--Evidence-Based Practices Assessment and Accountability and School Support and Accountability within ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Before this recent appointment, Mr. Rooney was the Deputy Director of the Office of State Support.  Prior to joining the Office of State Support, Mr. Rooney worked in the Implementation and Support Unit, where he helped lead the work of the Reform Support Network, providing technical assistance to states implementing comprehensive Race to the Top reforms, and the Race to the Top Assessment program, which provided grants to groups of states to develop new assessments aligned to state’s college- and career-ready standards. Mr. Rooney also worked in the DC Office of State Superintendent of Education, where he was a senior policy advisor and worked on a wide variety of K-12 issues in the District of Columbia.