Fact Sheet Understanding the Challenges Young People Face in Navigating the Safety Net
How can policies and programs work better for young people?
Heather Hahn, Amelia Coffey, Lauren Farrell, Gina Adams
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This fact sheet provides a brief overview of findings from a study of challenges and strategies for young people (ages 14 to 24) seeking support from key safety net programs. We draw findings primarily from a series of conversations with young people and staff members of youth-serving organizations. Young people and staff members identified key challenges with safety net policies and practices that do not reflect the needs or developmental life stage of young people. In this fact sheet, we provide context about how structural racism affects people’s experiences with the safety net. We also offer strategies for simplifying access and supporting young people in navigating processes; empowering and supporting young people in decisionmaking; replacing punitive approaches with support and minimized burden; and making structural changes.

For related products, see our Young People and the Safety Net project page.

Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population