Factors associated with homelessness of adolescents under supervision of the youth protection system
Knowledge of the risk factors associated with homelessness among runaway adolescents is limited by two factors: (1) the samples used are often composed of "visible" homeless youth, whereas many adolescents in fact experience "hidden" homelessness, and (2) studies lack an adequate control group to identify risk factors associated with youth homelessness. This study compared the characteristics of two groups of youths under the supervision of the youth protection system, according to whether or not they had experienced homelessness in the previous year. Results show that those who experienced homelessness were three times as likely as their peers to have been diagnosed with behavioral disorders and more than twice as likely to have been placed in substitute home environments and to have had significant relationship difficulties with a parent (deterioration of the parent/youth relationship and parental abuse). The findings suggest that the decision to place young people under supervision is based more on the dynamic between risk factors rather than on the existence of behavioral problems. Modified Author Abstract.