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Nebbitt -

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Research on Social Work Practice





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Objective: Few studies have assessed the outcomes of runaway/homeless youth that seek assistance from shelter or crisis services, which would provide much needed documentation of intervention effectiveness and point to new directions for service provision. The goals of the current study were to: (1) assess short-term outcomes among runaway/homeless youth using emergency shelters and crisis services and (2) compare short-term outcomes achieved by runaway/homeless youth in crisis shelters with similar youth using other, longer-term treatment modalities. Method: The study sampled 261 youth using runaway/homeless shelters from four midwestern states at intake and six-weeks postdischarge and 47 high-risk youth using longer-term services at intake and six weeks postintake; ten key outcome variables were assessed. Results: Every outcome variable demonstrated improvement postintervention: days on the run, school suspension and/or detention, and sexual activity decreased; perceived family support and self-esteem increased; and youth were more likely to be currently employed and less likely to have been fired. In comparing runaway/homeless crisis shelter users with day treatment users on the ten outcome variables, there were no significant differences across any of the outcome variables. Conclusions: Despite limitations, the research provides evidence for the short-term effectiveness of crisis shelter services for runaway/homeless youth.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in Research on Social Work Practice on September 2002, available online:

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