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We’ve Got Answers! 5 FAQs from the NCFY Hotline

A young person extends her hand showing all five fingers.

The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (NCFY) is an information service of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB). Our mission is to end youth homelessness, teen pregnancy, and family violence by supporting our grantees and other organizations around the country that are doing this important work, and by connecting people who are looking for help to in their communities.

Help from NCFY is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time every weekday via phone, email, and online chat. Here are some of the questions we get most often. They may answer some of your questions—or make you think of another question. Read on, then ask away!

I have an idea for a youth program. How do I get started?

Watch our video series on Building a Youth Program. The videos walk you through the fundamentals of launching a nonprofit organization and promoting it in your community. The Small Business Administration also has a blog post on how to start a transitional living program that you might find helpful.

How do I apply for grant funding?

Read the Administration for Children & Families’ article on how to apply for a grant. This article from FYSB’s parent agency walks you through the process of finding and applying for federal grants on You can also check NCFY’s list of private and public funding opportunities, which is updated weekly.

How can I make my youth program better?

This is why we’re here! NCFY regularly posts articles on its website so you can read about what works for other organizations, what new resources can help you, and what researchers are discovering about youth development. You also can read our publications and print them out to share with your colleagues, or you can search our library to find research abstracts about a particular topic. To get great NCFY content delivered to your inbox, subscribe to our email newsletter.

We also have free online training if you’re ready to dive into a particular area of youth work. These training courses require you to register for free online, and each training module within a course takes about an hour. NCFY doesn’t provide continuing education credit hours (CEUs), but some employers do recommend the courses to their staff, and you can download a certificate of completion when you finish a course.

Is there a transitional living program for homeless youth in my area?

To find a local organization, visit FYSB’s grantee map, click on your state, and then click on a program area (in this case, Runaway and Homeless Youth). That will bring up a list of organizations in your state that receive grants from us for that program area. Transitional Living Programs provide long-term housing for homeless youth ages 16 to 22. Basic Center Programs provide short-term housing for youth under age 18.

Don’t see a program near you? Contact the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY or This FYSB-supported helpline is available 24/7 and may be able to help you find other resources in your area.

Where can I find help for someone in foster care, a homeless adult, or someone facing domestic violence?

The Child Welfare Information Gateway has information on child welfare, child abuse prevention, foster care, and adoption, among other topics. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website can help you find local help for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or is a FYSB-supported hotline available 24/7 to help people experiencing domestic violence. As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.

What if I still have questions?

Contact us by calling (301) 608-8098, emailing, or using the online chat button on our website.

9-5 pm Eastern