ADMINISTRATION ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMLIES’ RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH PROGRAM
ACF, through FYSB, is committed to safety, permanency, well-being and self-sufficiency for runaway and homeless youth and young adults who cannot live safely with a parent, legal guardian, or relative, and who have no other safe, alternative living arrangement.
FYSB's RHY Program promotes a strengths-based approach, which emphasizes youth’s self-determination and strengths, and provides a meaningful framework to consistently support youth in identifying strengths and using those skills towards personal growth, development and success. This Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework is essential to ensure a young person has a sense of safety and structure; belonging and membership; self-worth and social contribution; independence and control over one’s life; skills to develop plans for the future and set goals; and closeness in interpersonal relationships. Lastly, the RHY Program promotes increasing youth leadership capacity through intentional projects and activities designed to enhance this skill set.
FYSB continues to support projects to increase human trafficking (sex and labor) prevention and intervention within RHY programs. These ongoing efforts seek to minimize sexual exploitation and trafficking incidents among runaway and homeless youth, equip programs with the necessary tools to prevent these incidents, and identify youth who are victims of trafficking or those at risk of becoming victims.
In response to growing concern for youth in need of long-term, supportive assistance that emergency shelter programs were not designed to provide, Congress created the TLP for older, homeless youth as part of the 1988 Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. In 2016, the TLP assisted more than 5,000 homeless youth as they transitioned to life on their own by providing shelter and supportive services. Services offered through the TLP are designed to help young people who are homeless make a successful transition to self-sufficient living.
Pursuant to section 322(a) of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), projects must, “...establish, strengthen, or fund a transitional living youth project for homeless youth,” and, “…develop an adequate plan to ensure proper referral of homeless youth to social service, law enforcement, educational (including post-secondary education), vocational, training (including services and programs for youth available under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (or most recently, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Pub. L 113-128)), welfare (including programs under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996), legal service, and health care programs and to help integrate and coordinate such services for youths.”
Specific to grantees providing maternity-related care services under the TLP Program, section 1351.25 of the RHY Rule requires Maternity Group Home (MGH) projects to provide parenting skills, childcare, and child nutrition services. For MGH purposes, projects are also required to ensure that pregnant youth have access to pre-natal and post-natal care and provide parenting curricula that details how to care for infants and toddlers including: nutrition, safety, child development, early learning, health, child-care, emotional support, stress reduction, and family engagement strategies.
PROJECT GOAL AND VISION
Goal: The primary goal of the TLP is to help runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 16 to under 22 establish sustainable living and well-being for themselves and, if applicable, their dependent child(ren).
Vision: Successfully transition youth experiencing homelessness into adulthood through the promotion of self-sufficient living and the prevention of long-term dependency on social services.
Please note, the TLP and MGH projects are separated out this year. Applicants seeking to provide services only to pregnant/parenting RHY should apply under the MGH-specific FOA, HHS-2019-ACF-ACYF-CX-1577.
The RHY Rule establishes RHY Program Performance Standards as measures of successful outcomes for youth. The Performance Standards are used to monitor project performance in achieving the purposes of the RHYA.
The RHY Rule requires TLP grantees to collect data that demonstrate their ability to meet the Performance Standards described in Section 1351.31 of the Act. Specifically, TLP Projects are responsible for consistently enhancing short-term outcome areas for youth in the four core outcome areas: 1) social and emotional well-being; 2) permanent connections; 3) education or employment; and 4) safe and stable housing.
Through the provision of shelter and services, indicators of improvements include, but are not limited to:
1. Social and Emotional Well-Being: Youth or pregnant and parenting youth will connect to systems of care providers that are trauma-informed, promote positive and healthy messages, and assist youth with improved physical health, dental health, and mental health.
2. Permanent Connections: Youth or pregnant and parenting youth will experience positive ongoing attachments to families, communities, schools, and other social networks. For the purposes of the MGH, pregnant and/or parenting youth have developed healthy family engagement strategies and parenting skills.
3. Education or Employment: Youth or pregnant and parenting youth will connect to school including post-secondary education or vocational training program; learn or improve interviewing and improve job attainment skills; and secure employment.
4. Safe and Stable Housing: Youth or pregnant and parenting youth and their dependent child(ren) will transition to safe and stable housing that appropriately matches their level of need after leaving a TLP to include: rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, moving in with family, residential treatment center, or substance abuse treatment facility.
All TLP Projects MUST provide shelter AND supportive services. Choosing one or the other is not optional.
Consistent with the statutory mandates set forth in the RHYA, as well as the regulatory requirements set forth in the RHY Rule, TLP Projects will include the following components:
Safe, stable, and appropriate shelter
TLP Projects must provide safe and stable housing (i.e., host home, supervised apartments, group homes, and/or shelter) throughout a continuous period not to exceed 540 days, or in exceptional circumstances 635 days. If a young person has not reached 18 years of age on the last day of the 635-day period may, in exceptional circumstances and if otherwise qualified for the program, the youth may remain in the program until their 18th birthday.
TLP Projects will have an agreement and/or linkage with an age appropriate emergency shelter in circumstances when there are no current TLP openings.
TLP Projects will provide direct on-site supervision at each shelter facility that is not a family host home. Shelter facilities will have a ratio of staff to youth that is sufficient to ensure all homeless youth receive adequate supervision and services. Shelter facility will have the capacity to accommodate a minimum of four and not more than 20 individuals (excluding staff). Shelter staff will be trained to interact with youth victims of trafficking or youth having other similar traumatic experiences. Transportation to the shelter should be available, as needed, and barriers to entry should be low enough that it is easily accessible by youth.
TLP Projects will ensure youth are engaged in educational advancement, job attainment skills, or work activities while in the program.
For MGH Purposes: There will be a separate bed each for youth and the infant/child. In addition, the facility will ensure accommodations will limit the risk of or prevent injuries associated with falling, burning, and electrical hazards, and safe bath and tub space. See for example: ACF: Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/ech_family_shelter_self_assessment_tool_120114_final.pdf.
Comprehensive Youth-Centered Services Model
Social and Emotional Well-being and Strength-based Approach: TLP Projects use a trauma-informed approach, which involves understanding and responding to the symptoms of chronic, interpersonal trauma and traumatic stress, as well as the behavioral and mental health consequences of trauma. TLP Projects also utilizes a PYD framework, which includes healthy messages, safe and structured places, adult role models, skill development, and opportunities to serve others.
Outreach Plan: TLP Projects will actively find runaway, homeless, and street youth, or youth at risk of becoming runaway or homeless, who might not use RHY program services due to lack of awareness or active avoidance, providing information to them about services and benefits, and encouraging the use of appropriate services.
Gateway Services: When necessary and appropriate to facilitate the delivery of required TLP shelter and services, projects must provide food, drink, clothing, personal safety information (e.g., national youth hotlines, local hotlines), transportation and hygiene products to prevent malnutrition and ill-health while building trust with workers in order for the youth to be successful in the program.
Intake Screening Tools: TLP Projects will implement standardized methods to assess eligibility and the services required to meet the immediate needs of the client such as physical health, potential victimization (e.g., sex trafficking, labor trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, sexual assault), behavioral health, connection to family, safety, access to resources, issues of neglect or abuse, and other risk and protective factors impacting well-being and sustainable living that will guide identification, assistance, and referral for delivery of appropriate services. The screening tool must be able to identify the unique needs of runaway and homeless youth.
Assessment Tools: TLP Projects will complete periodic, ongoing assessment to ensure interventions are meeting a youth’s needs, particularly if a youth remains homeless for a long period of time. In addition, MGH providers will complete a thorough assessment of pregnant and parenting youth and child in care within 30 days of intake.
This list will help you find screening and assessment tools you can use to decide what types of interventions and services each young person in your care needs. http://www.rhyclearinghouse.acf.hhs.gov/features/screening-and-assessment-tools-runaway-and-homeless-youth-programs.
Continuum Service Linkages: Projects must coordinate with others, such as governments and non-profits, other outreach teams, and service providers, to ensure the ability to serve the runaway and homeless youth population.
Case Management: Projects will identify and assess the needs of the client and, as appropriate, arrange, coordinate, monitor, evaluate, and advocate for a package of services to meet the specific needs of the client. (45 CFR § 1351.1) The following list includes specific programmatic requirements for case management planning for youth in TLP and MGH Projects:
- Individualized Service or Treatment Plan: TLP Projects will develop, with every youth receiving services, a written service or treatment plan based on the person’s goals that include evidence-informed strategies to assist with the trajectory of achieving sustainable living.
- Record Keeping and Case Management for Infant/Toddler: TLP Projects supporting MGHs will create a separate file for the young person’s infant or child. At a minimum, information contained in the file should include record of well-care visits, sensory and developmental screenings, and assessments.
- Service Coordination Plan: TLP Projects will coordinate with the local Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded Continuums of Care (CoC) to ensure youth have access to all available resources, including adult mainstream services and youth services. In addition, projects must have a suitable referral plan based on an assessment of youth needs to ensure appropriate system of care services are accessible. A list of the system of care services may include social services; law enforcement; educational services; vocational training; welfare; legal services, anti-trafficking agencies, health care programs, including health insurance options; affordable child-care and/or child education programs. In addition, projects must take steps to ensure that youth who are under the legal jurisdiction of the juvenile justice or child welfare systems receive services from those systems until such time as they are released from the jurisdiction of those systems.
Transitional Living Plan: TLP Projects will provide every youth a written transitional living plan that meets their level of need for a safe and stable living environment after program exit, which should ensure the youth has access to important documents and paperwork (e.g., birth certificate, social security card, driver's license or state identification card, medical records, credit reports).
Aftercare Plan: Projects will plan to provide additional services beyond the period of residential stay that offer continuous and supportive follow-up to youth served by the program for at least 3 months. A youth’s individual aftercare plan must be provided to the youth in exit counseling or before, and must outline what services were provided, including appropriate referrals for needed health care services, including referrals and counseling on insurance coverage through family health care insurance plans or to agencies that assist in enrolling persons in Medicaid or other publicly available insurance plans. The aftercare plan should track the youth’s housing status, educational services, and the rate of participation and completion of the services in the plan beyond 3 months, if services are still provided. Additionally, each TLP Project must ensure youth have safe and appropriate exits when leaving the program. The aftercare plan should include, but not be limited to:
- Contact with youth who leave the program in order to ensure their ongoing safety and access to services;
- Assistance with youth in overcoming barriers that may interfere with the achievement of their goals;
- Provide proactive and reactive strategies to encourage retention in education, employment, housing, and other key areas;
- Provide supportive services to assist in advancement to better jobs or postsecondary education and training; and
- Help youth find solutions for employment, education, housing, and personal issues.
Sustainability Plan: Successful TLP Projects plan for project sustainability from the beginning of the project design and revisit and revise the plan throughout the life of the project. These plans include:
- Sustainability through diversification of funding to continue services in the event of a loss of FYSB funding, as well as plans to address staff retention, and staff turnover;
- Accountability in meeting FYSB’s four core outcome areas, and performance standards; and
- Collaboration through building meaningful partnerships with other service agencies in the community, thus becoming co-laborers in the field.
For MGH Purposes: Referrals should also include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Child Care; Head Start; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and other related family/child support services. Pursuant to Section1351.23(b) of the RHY Rule, RHY projects will inform the National Runaway Safeline, the RHY Program's National Communication System, about resources and how to connect youth in need with those resources. MGH Projects need to ensure and report that youth receive consistent pre-natal care and, for the infant, well-baby exams and immunizations, while in the program.
- Child Care Plan (For MGH Purposes): A project’s child care plan must link youth to safe, affordable, and accessible child-care and early childhood development services so the youth can complete education and employment goals. This should include procedures for child care referral and other early childhood development linkages.
Subrecipients must meet the eligibility requirements in Section III.1. Eligible Applicants. Additionally, all subrecipients must obtain a DUNS number if they do not have one already and they must have an active registration with System for Award Management (SAM). See Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identify and System for Award Management (SAM).
The recipient must serve as the lead entity responsible for coordinating the delivery of all required services. The recipient must have a process for selecting subrecipients, as well as an assessment of any potential financial or programmatic risks associated with entering into a programmatic and financial relationship with the identified subrecipient(s).
Grant recipients may elect to subaward a portion of funds (not more than 75 percent of the total award amount) to eligible organizations for the purpose of carrying out the Project Requirements.
Grant recipients are responsible for ensuring all RHY Program requirements specified in the RHYA and RHY Rule, as well as the specific Project Requirements stated in this FOA, are fully implemented. It is also the responsibility of the recipient to implement oversight and performance monitoring procedures to ensure subrecipient(s) compliance and performance with all applicable RHY Program and Project Requirements. Recipients of an award who subaward must, at a minimum, abide by 45 CFR 75.351-.353.
Recipients of an award under this FOA will be legally accountable to ACF for performance of the project or program. See Section V.2. Review and Selection Process.
Other conditions related to the recipient/subrecipient relationship include:
Recipients may be required to report under the Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act.
All funding restrictions that apply to the recipient will apply to the subrecipient. See Section IV.6. Funding Restrictions.
If recipients have not secured subrecipients by the time of the award, they must do so within 90 days from the start of the project, unless specified otherwise, and must notify ACF when the subrecipients are known.