Many youth are homeless, not by choice, but by circumstance. North Texas Youth Connection provides shelter accommodations for youth ages 10-17 who are homeless or who have been placed into custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), also known as CPS. It is licensed by the State of Texas as a temporary Residential Care facility and monitored for regulatory performance standards. Both the executive director and the director of residential services are Licensed Child Care Administrators. Youth entering the shelter have an on-site case manager who sees to educational, medical, and life-skills needs. In addition to the activities of the case manager, youth are supervised by Youth Advisors who are present in the shelter 24/7 in rotating shifts. Community volunteer groups provide other training and activities for these young people. Youth attend public or alternative schools in the community and are encouraged to participate in school activities, where possible. The shelter is not a “lock-down” facility; however, youth are accepted with the expectations that they will follow shelter rules as published in the Shelter Residents’ Manual. Typical shelter stay is no more than 90 days during which time DFPS plans for a more permanent placement arrangement.
Typical Shelter Day
First of all, there is no “typical” shelter day. During the school year, residents go to school, do homework, have a recreation or quiet time, and go to bed at a curfew hour. Residents are offered nutritional meals and snacks. On holidays and special occasions, special meals and activities are planned. Living in a shelter is “not normal,” but we try to give youth a sense of safety and self. During the summer, our Discovery Program™ provides opportunities to visit museums, camp out, boat, swim, and do other “kid” things.
Responsive Attentive peers (R.A.P.)
Is an interactive life skills group held in the community such as area schools, housing authorities and Boys and Girls Clubs. These groups are used to help increase knowledge about runaway resources and prevention, truancy prevention, substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying and behavior modification.
Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY)
NTYC also works with youth ages 10-17 to provide temporary shelter until more permanent arrangements can be made. Funded by a federal RHY grant, this program operates in a way similar to the basic shelter program.
NTYC is a Safe Place agency. When a call for help comes through Safe Place locations in our area, youth who are homeless or in danger are sheltered until they can be reunited with their families.