Homelessness among youth 18-24 years of age is a national crisis. Youth aging out of foster care are especially vulnerable to becoming homeless after leaving the child welfare system. The Child Welfare League of America Reports that; “ Approximately 20,000-25,000 young people age out of the foster care system each year, many without family or economic support and that anywhere from 12% to 36% of young people transitioning out of the system experience homelessness (1)”.
November is national Runaway and Homelessness Youth Awareness Month. The growing number of homeless youth living in urban streets has been defined as a national crisis. It is estimated that on an annual basis, 530,000 youth between the ages of 18 and 21 experience an episode of homelessness of more than a week. Of these approximately 380,000 or roughly 72% are under the age of 18.
The Denver Community has several vibrant non-profit agencies founded by and for Native American People. One such agency is the Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC). The Denver Indian Family Resource Center was created to assist American Indian families and children in the Denver Area with child welfare issues. The caseworker often contacts DIFRC when Denver Human Services has opened a case alleging abuse or neglect in a Native American Family. The case worker interacting with a DIFRC representative helps the worker to learn about cultural sensitivity and to provide services to the family in accordance with ICWA law.