Keeping Kids Off the Street: Snapshot of Covenant House Alaska

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

A new report by Stephanie Martin and Alejandra Villalobos Melendez of UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) documents trends in use of the Crisis Center at Covenant House Alaska and the characteristics of its clients. Crisis Center use has been increasing since 2003, including many more youth coming to the Center from outside of Anchorage. Their research found that after aging out of foster care, many youth end up at Covenant House. Similarly, many who receive mental health care outside of the state, return to Alaska and end up at the Center. Few have high school diplomas or GEDs and three out of four are unemployed.

The conclusion of this study is that the number of youth coming to the Crisis Center from rural Alaska is likely to continue to increase. This is because the conditions driving rural urban migration perceptions of more and better jobs and expanded educational opportunities in Anchorage, and the increasing cost of living in rural Alaska are unlikely to change. Data indicate gaps in services for homeless youth. In particular the researchers saw evidence of gaps in the areas of mental health treatment, transitioning from foster care and for youth moving to Anchorage from rural Alaska. Education and employment are critical issues for homeless youth. Again, most lack a high school diploma or GED, which are required for most entry level jobs.

The full report and summary of this research can be found at

KTUU and the Anchorage Daily News featured stories highlighting this work. It is also featured in the upcoming Accolades, a University publication for alumni and friends of the University. The issue will be out shortly.

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