Preventing Youth Homelessness

This page has been moved to the Department of Children Youth and Families

Services for Juvenile Rehabilitation, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Child Care Subsidy Programs, including Working Connections Child Care, have moved to the Department of Children Youth and Families at www.dcyf.wa.gov/. The information on this page is no longer considered current. Thank you.

Preventing Youth Homelessness in Juvenile Rehabilitation

Juvenile Rehabilitation maintains the priority of ensuring that youth have safe, stable and permanent housing upon release from our care. 

Juvenile Rehabilitation has been working for many years towards improving the reentry and transition experiences of youth through:

  • Identifying stable housing opportunities for youth as they exit our residential programs
  • Reentry and transition planning that begins at admission
  • Elevating the issue of youth leaving JR to homelessness
  • Prioritizing our assessment and identification process to better understand the homelessness issue within our population
  • Creating system enhancements to track the number of youth releasing without confirmed housing.

During the past Legislative session SSB 6560 was passed which “requires Division of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) and the office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs to develop a plan to ensure that, by December 31, 2020, no unaccompanied youth is discharged from a publicly funded system of care into homelessness”.  

The 2018 Legislature provided funding to JR to hire homeless prevention program specialists who will provide transitional assistance to youth releasing from incarceration.  This funding also includes funds for temporary housing assistance as youth work toward self-sufficiency. 

Department of Commerce: Office of Homeless Youth

Created in 2015, the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (OHY) leads the statewide efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness for youth and young adults through five priority service areas to ensure our youth and young adults have:

  • Stable Housing – Every youth has a safe and healthy place to sleep at night.
  • Family Reconciliation – Families are reunited when safe and appropriate.
  • Permanent Connections – Youth have opportunities to establish positive, healthy relationships with adults.
  • Education and Employment – Youth have opportunities to advance in their education or training and obtain employment.
  • Social and Emotional Well-Being – Youth have access to behavioral and physical health care; services nurture each youth’s individual strengths and abilities.

Click to visit Department of Commerce Office of Youth Homelessness

In January 2017, Governor Inslee’s 17-01 Directive, established the Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness. This workgroup includes state agencies and entities tasks to provide a forum for an integrated and consistent statewide approach to addressing youth homelessness. Juvenile Rehabilitation participates as a member of this committee. Governor Inslee maintains, “We must ensure that no young person is discharged from a public system of care into homelessness”. The interagency work group on youth homelessness shall establish shared goals, outcomes, and action plans to:

Click to view Directive of the Governor 17-01: Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness

  • Prevent youth from experiencing homelessness after exiting public systems of care
  • Ensure every youth has a safe and stable place to sleep at night
  • Reconcile families when safe and appropriate
  • Provide youth with opportunities to establish positive, healthy relationships with adults
  • Provide youth with opportunities to advance in their education or training and obtain employment
  • Ensure youth have access to behavioral and physical health care

Juvenile Rehabilitation strives to provide all youth leaving our care a safe and stable home to return to. JR understands that a fixed address assists youth in applying for jobs, enrolling in school, and reestablishing themselves within their community with a goal of independence and self-sufficiency. JR supports all youth with securing safe, stable and permanent housing by providing proper assessment; improved identification and tracking processes; using data to explore root causes; and implementing homeless prevention plans for long term solutions to decrease the number of youth releasing from incarceration to homelessness.

For more information about the homeless youth prevention in Juvenile Rehabilitation please contact Cristi Devers at devercr@dshs.wa.gov

If you are a young person who is thinking about running away or already has, you can talk to someone confidentially at the National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929

Click to visit National Runaway Safeline