LAS VEGAS --
The Clark County Department of Family Services
was awarded a federal grant to address youth and young adult homelessness in the community.
The two-year planning grant was given by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families and provides more than $700,000 for both years, with the option to apply for an additional $1 million a year for five years.
The funding allows DFS and a core group of community partners to develop a model intervention program to prevent long-term homelessness among the most at-risk youth and young adults involved in the child welfare system.
“Addressing homelessness among the child welfare and juvenile justice populations is crucial,” said DFS Director Lisa Ruiz-Lee. “Clark County’s most vulnerable population needs us, and this funding is a powerful step in getting youth off the streets.”
Phase I of the Clark County Homeless Youth Model Intervention Planning Project includes convening community partners to create a plan to reduce the risks of youth homelessness and identify resources for stable housing, education, employment and social and emotional well-being. The group will develop a concrete plan for addressing homelessness among the child welfare and juvenile justice populations in the community by evaluating resources and assessing services and service gaps.
More than 3,000 children are in the system on any given day. There are about 550 youth receiving Independent Living services through DFS. The program helps youth make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency. DFS estimates as many as 80 percent of youth in the program are at high risk for homelessness.
The planning project will be evaluated by the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Project partners include the Clark County Department of Social Service, Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition’s Committee on Homelessness and the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services.
“This planning grant will greatly assist in bringing together key community partners to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce homelessness among current and former foster youth in Clark County through early identification of at-risk youth and the provision of evidence based and coordinated services,” said Denise Tanata-Ashby, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance. “The planning effort will look at more than just providing a roof for these young adults but will focus on ensuring that they have the tools and resources necessary to be healthy, productive adults.”
DFS is the local public agency that investigates child abuse and neglect in Clark County. The department provides in-home, foster and adoptive services. The agency was formed in July 2002 in response to the merger of state and county child welfare services. -- From news release