Promising Programs for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Runaway and Homeless Youth

This qualitative study identified promising programs across the United States for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) runaway and homeless youth (RHY). Twenty-four administrative staff and service providers from 19 nonprofit organizations serving LGBTQ RHY participated in telephone interviews about promising programs, service gaps, and recommendations for practice, policy, and research for LGBTQ RHY. Researchers used template analysis to code and analyze interview transcripts. Participating organizations offered integrated programs for all subgroups of LGBTQ and heterosexual RHY as well as separate programs for specific subpopulations of LGBTQ RHY. Researchers identified integrated programs in health, mental health/substance use, case-management, family, legal, education and employment, and housing services and also noted promising separate programs for subpopulations of LGBTQ RHY. Collectively, integrated and separate programs were characterized by 5 novel program components: a strong reliance on clinical evidence; use of a trauma-informed approach; provision of safe, stable, and supportive housing; incorporation of peer providers from the LGBTQ community; and opportunities for reciprocal learning between LGBTQ and heterosexual RHY. Findings regarding extant promising programs and novel program components can support practitioners, policymakers, and researchers working with LGBTQ RHY in implementing, evaluating, and replicating effective interventions to engage and retain this population in services.

Publication Date: 
In press
Journal Name: 
Journal of Social Service Research