When providing services for runaway and homeless youth, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Though many youth experience homelessness for similar reasons and many face similar challenges, every young person’s specific circumstances differ. And each young person has a unique set of strengths that can help support their transition to adulthood.
This list will help you find screening and assessment tools you can use to decide what types of interventions and services each young person in your care needs. Screening and assessment means using credible tools and practices to evaluate each youth’s individual strengths and needs. Screening involves brief instruments that check for things like traumatic stress and mental health problems, and can identify certain youth who need more thorough diagnostic evaluations and treatment. Assessment involves evaluating multiple aspects of social, emotional, and behavioral competencies and functioning in order to inform service planning and monitor progress toward better outcomes.
Featured tools include those that are appropriate for use across various federal programs for youth and young adults generally between the ages of 12 and 24 and that are low cost or in the public domain. The exception to this low cost/no cost criterion are monitoring instruments that can be implemented at the system level, since it is assumed that the cost of those instruments might be shared across multiple agencies or partners.