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From Independence to Interdependence: Redefining Outcomes for Transitional Living Programs for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Year Published: 2016
Families in Society
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
Transitional living programs (TLPs) are a housing intervention authorized by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to provide services for older youth experiencing homelessness. One of the program’s chief goals is to help young people ages 16 to 21 develop the skills they need to become independent. Findings from this qualitative study with 32 former participants in TLP services suggest a need to reexamine the primacy of this outcome. The young people did not define their success in the program by standard indicators of self-sufficiency used in the field. Instead, they identified safety and survival, permanent connections, giving back, and personal development as the most significant outcomes of their participation in TLP services. The authors discuss the implications for practice and offer suggestions for enhancing aftercare support and incorporating structural social work practice into TLPs. Modified author Abstract.