News and Advocacy Alerts

National Conference Draws Federal Officials, Youth Workers to Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona (November 10, 2014) - More than 650 youth service workers and numerous federal officials from across the country gathered in Phoenix for the Family and Youth Services Bureau's (FYSB) 2014 National Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Grantees Conference, which took place November 11-13 at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak. During the two-and-a-half-day event, participants celebrated the 40th anniversary of the RHY Act and attended several networking and educational sessions.

"We were very excited to be in Phoenix for the 2014 FYSB National RHY Grantees Conference to network with peers and learn about innovative and rising trends in the youth services field," said Laurie Jackson, President/CEO of National Safe Place Network (NSPN), the agency that administers the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). "We were also honored to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the RHY Act, a historic piece of legislation that provides funding for programs working to address the needs of runaway and homeless youth."

In addition to conference workshops and seminars, major conference events included:

40th Anniversary of RHY Act Celebration - Grantees reception honored the 40th anniversary of the signing of the RHY Act. This event included popular music from the past 40 years, a musical peformance by a youth from the Valley Youth House program and a candlelight vigil in honor of National Runaway Prevention Month.

Luncheon and Keynote Address - The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (NCFY) presented the winner of their mural contest. Matt D'Arrigo, Founder/CEO of A Reason to Survive (ARTS), delivered the keynote address along with Jessica Petrikowski, ARTS student and featured guest. ARTS is a nationally-recognized non-profit agency using arts and creativity to generate positive change and transformation in the lives of children and youth facing adversity.

Screening of The Homestretch - Grantees and conference participants viewed The Homestretch, a documentary film that follows three homeless teenagers as they brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school and life alone on the streets to build a brighter future. Learn more about the film at: http://www.homestretchdoc.com/

Since 2012, NSPN has managed RHYTTAC, the training and technical assistance provider for more than 600 FYSB-funded RHY grantees across the country. RHYTTAC services are designed to supply grantee programs with tools and information which help lead to positive outcomes for children, youth and families in their communities. RHYTTAC is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' FYSB.

 

Focus 2014 - "Walk a Mile in My Shoes"

Youth service workers from across the country gathered in Louisville for NSPN's Focus 2014 conference - "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" - October 1-3, at the Brown Hotel.  Attendees networked with their peers and discussed ideas of significance related to strengthening youth and family services.

“This conference provided a great opportunity for youth service providers to learn about emerging and best practices in their field,” said Laurie Jackson, President/CEO of NSPN. “As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, we celebrated the tremendous work that has taken place to provide critical services while continuing to address the evolving needs of young people in this country.”

For over 30 years, NSPN has provided training and technical support for youth and family service organizations. The Focus 2014 conference combines the past efforts of National Safe Place and Youth and Family Services Network – now NSPN.

Samples of Conference Workshops

  • Benefits of Implementing Trauma Informed Care
  • Abundance Mentality vs. Scarcity Mentality: Increasing Organizational Sustainability
  • Football and Fundraising: Scoring Donations
  • Using Host Homes for your Rural Safe Place Programs
  • Developing Services for Sexually Exploited Youth
  • Come Together: A Non-Traditional Community Model for Safe Place
  • Accessing Resources in your Community: Ensuring Survival in a Competitive Environment
  • Living in the System: First-Hand Experiences from Youth
  • The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act: Where it's Been. Were it is. Where it's Going.
  • Bridging the Gap: Building a Community of Support
  • And more!

In addition to conference workshops and seminars, major events included:

Wednesday, October 1, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.: Opening Session and Keynote

  • Keynote delivered by Justin Reed Early, author of STREET CHILD: A Memoir and public speaker who was homeless for much of his adolescent and teenage years. Mr. Early also appeared in the 1984 Academy Award-nominated documentary, Streetwise.

Wednesday, October 1, Noon – 1:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Several awards were distributed to individuals, companies and organizations, including:

  • Model Program Award – Clark County Youth Shelter and Family Services; Jeffersonville, Indiana.
  • HEROES for Youth Award – Pamela A. Johnson (1953-2014). This annual award celebrates individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the services provided to at-risk youth.

Thursday, October 2, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.: General Session and Keynote

  • Keynote delivered by Dr. Christian Conte, licensed professional counselor, nationally-certified psychologist and Level V anger management specialist. Dr. Conte has over 16,000 hours of clinical counseling experience and is the founder of Yield Theory. His books and videos are used to train and educate people from universities to state prison institutions. He travels throughout the country to bring a message of compassion, peace and acceptance.

FOCUS 2014 was made possible with the support of NSPN’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and member agencies. For more information, visit www.nspnetwork.org.

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training, and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC), and HTR3. To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

 

Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Reauthorization 

The week of July 22, Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Collins (R-ME) moved to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) by introducing the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA).

Each year an estimated 1.7 million youth run away from a threatening situation or are thrown out of their homes by discouraged parents (http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/901087_Burt_Homeless.pdf). These children benefit from the programs funded through RHYA and the reauthorization, RHYTPA.

RHYA serves homeless youth through the following programs:

  • Basic Center Program provides grants to community and nonprofit organizations to support emergency shelters and services to reunite youth with their families;
  • Street Outreach Program provides outreach services to at-risk youth;
  • Transitional Living and Maternity Group Home Programs provide housing and life skill support to older youth 16 to 22-years-old.

These programs serve thousands of youth each year and are critically important in every state. RHYTPA builds on these programs and provides some key updates, which include: funding data collection; improving family reunification efforts; outlining a nondiscrimination clause that has already been adopted by programs across the country, ensuring housing and services will be provided fairly to youth. If you are interested in learning more or advocating for this issue, contact Katie Carter at kcarter@nspnetwork.org.

 

From National Network for Youth: Senators Leahy and Collins Introduce the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act to Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

The National Network for Youth (NN4Y) issues the following release in support of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (S.262), which was introduced in the Senate today. S.262 is a stronger and more comprehensive bill than H.R.468.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) (42 U.S.C. 5701 et seq.). Senator Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined this important bipartisan effort as original bill cosponsors. The National Network for Youth has been leading the reauthorization of RHYA with its partners and convened a group of 35 experts who collaborated and developed recommendations for critical updates to the legislation.

Click here to exit the site and view NN4Y's release.
rom National Network for Youth: Senators Leahy and Collins Introduce the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act to Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
 

Senators Leahy and Collins Introduce the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA)

Earlier this week, Senators Leahy and Collins introduced the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (read more about the bill and track its progress here: http://1.usa.gov/1JTW89Q). Although there is no bipartisan bill yet in the House, National Network for Youth and partners are working hard to make sure that happens.

This legislation serves homeless youth through the following programs:

  • Basic Center Program provides grants to community and nonprofit organizations to support emergency shelters and services to reunite youth with their families;
  • Street Outreach Programs provides outreach services to at-risk youth;
  • Transitional Living Program provides housing and life skill support to older youth 16-22 years old.
Click here to read more on NSPNsights.
 
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