Only three states in the U.S. have a Coalition structure to ensure that youth in all communities have access to services. Vermont is one of them.
Stereotypical notions of runaway and homeless youth do our communities a tremendous disservice. It is simply wrong to assume that runaway youth are defiant young people who won’t obey parental authority.
The truth is that young people leave home for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they leave because of a pattern of ongoing disagreements with parents. Sometimes a youth finally makes the decision to leave home after a lifetime of abuse. Sometimes a youth is rejected (or ejected) due to their sexual orientation. And some young people are forced to leave home by parents who can simply no longer afford to provide for a child.
Runaway or homeless youth typically can’t be identified by sight. They dress like their peers, act like their peers, hang out with their peers, even continue to attend school with their peers. However, unlike their peers, at the end of the day they may not know where they are going to sleep, or where their next meal will come from.
These are the stories of young people from across Vermont who have received help from VCRHYP agencies, as told in their own words: