Over 1.5 million children and youth in America experience homelessness annually- one in 50 children each year. Progress to combat child and youth homelessness in the U.S. can be made if federal agencies align their efforts, coordinating both program and funding streams. A high quality, fully-funded, and efficient support system of housing and services is necessary to make this happen. First Focus works with housing, education, and child welfare advocates to reduce homelessness and student mobility in an effort to increase educational opportunities and academic achievement for this student population.

Therefore, First Focus applauds the joint efforts by the Campaign to End Child Homelessness at The National Center on Family Homelessness, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, National Collaboration for Youth, and National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty in the recommendations for improving federal collaboration for homeless children and youth.

The needs of homeless children and youth do not exist in silos, and the support they receive should be designed accordingly, including programs and integrated services that take a comprehensive look at the whole child. The federal government appropriately leads efforts to collaborate and coordinate resources, programs, and services to better serve at-risk and homeless children and youth, including hundreds of programs that serve children and youth ages 0-24, spread across 12 departments and agencies. Critical policy recommendations such as these are needed to help offer guidance in developing a national strategy to help homeless children and youth achieve success in school and productive adulthood.

Click here to read the joint policy brief on how the federal government can improve policy and program coordination in order to improve outcomes for children and youth.