B. Homeless Youth (HY) - Program Standards

Section I - DEFINITIONS

Additional services - Services that may be provided directly, or through referral and/or linkage with another community-based resource, as indicated through the assessment of needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan.

Advocacy - The ongoing support of a homeless youth (individual advocacy) or group of homeless youth (systemic advocacy) that promotes or ensures that their basic rights are protected.

Brief contact - Any contact that a provider has with a homeless youth for whom a case is not opened.

Case management - Services that include the assessment and identification of client needs; the identification of available resources to meet client needs; the development of an individualized service plan; the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of services for the client; and advocacy to assure that services and resources are accessible on site and/or provided through linkage with other providers.

Department - The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS)

Homeless youth - Any youth under the age of 21 years (i.e., who has not reached his/her 21st birthday) who is currently without permanent housing or who is in imminent danger of losing permanent housing, and who is not a ward of the State of Illinois. The lower age range is dependent upon the program in which the youth is enrolled, and is specified under each program elsewhere in these standards.

Housing - A safe space with access to a bed; bedding; a place to receive mail, phone calls and/or messages; and facilities in which to take care of personal hygiene. Housing may be a group home, shelter, transitional housing (apartment and/or private residence) and/or licensed foster home.

Partially Emancipated Youth - Youth is a 16-17 year old runaway or homeless youth who begins placement with his/her local CCBYS agency in order to work toward family reunification, Minor Requiring Authoritative Intervention (MRAI), partial emancipation, or other permanency option. (Youth is not a lock-out case as those youth are referred to DCFS.) It is determined that family reunification is not possible and the legal guardian refuses to provide permission for the youth to enter the TLP or the parent cannot be located. The youth states a desire to enter the TLP and has the capacity to prepare for self-sufficient independent living. The CCBYS agency completes the legal process to obtain from a judge a limited emancipation giving the youth only the legal right to receive TLP services.

Provider - Any entity that has an active agreement with the Department to provide services through the Department's Homeless Youth program.

Required services - Services that must be provided by or subcontracted for by the provider, as indicated through the assessment of needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan.

Reunification services - Ongoing counseling with a youth and his/her family for the purpose of returning the youth to the family home.

Self-sufficiency - The ability to rely on oneself for food, clothing and shelter.

Section II - PROGRAM COMPONENTS

The Homeless Youth program is comprised of three components: Transitional Living, Emergency/Interim Housing, and Outreach. Case management services will be provided to all youth who are enrolled in any of these components. Each component is described below. Local agencies may elect to provide services through one or more of these components. In no case will housing be provided without services.

Section III - TRANSITIONAL LIVING

  1. Program Description - Transitional Living programs provide housing and services to homeless youth for up to 24 months, that are designed to assist youth in the following ways:
    1. To transition from homelessness to self-sufficient living; and/or
    2. To reunify the youth with his/her family, when possible.
  2. Eligible Population - Transitional Living providers provide services to homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 21 (i.e., up to the 21st birthday), who are not wards of the State, with the following provisions:
    1. Youth may not be enrolled after their 21st birthday
    2. If a youth's 21st birthday occurs while enrolled in the program, services may continue with written permission from the Department.
    3. For enrollment of youth up to the age of 18, parental permission must be granted or the youth must be partially or fully emancipated.
  3. Intake - Intake should be completed within 24 hours of accepting the client into the program. Intake should include, at a minimum, the following documents and/or processes:
    1. Enrollment - The provider must conduct an initial assessment that includes demographic information, emergency contact information, prior services, referral source, educational information, and identification of the need for physical and/or mental health services.
    2. Initial Service Plan - The provider must develop an initial service plan based on the information gathered in the initial assessment, above.
    3. Client's Rights - The provider must inform the youth of his/her rights that are protected by state and federal law. The agency will assure that the youth's rights are:
      1. presented to the youth in writing;
      2. communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      3. signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      4. kept on file at the provider agency.
    4. Informed Consent - The provider must confirm that the youth consents to services. This document must:
      1. be presented to the youth in writing;
      2. include the types of services to be provided;
      3. be communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      4. be signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      5. be kept on file at the provider agency.
    5. Rules of the Home - The provider must inform the youth of the rules of the home, including the consequences for breaking them. These rules must be:
      1. provided to the youth in writing;
      2. communicated in a language that he/she understands;
      3. signed by the youth; and
      4. kept on file at the provider agency.
  4. Comprehensive Assessment
    1. Within 30 days of accepting a client into the program, the provider must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client's needs, using an individual assessment process, as prescribed by the Department.
    2. Within 30 days of determining that a youth is pregnant or parenting, he or she must have an additional assessment, as prescribed by the Department.
  5. Case Planning - Within 45 days of enrollment into the program, and after completing the comprehensive assessment, the provider agency must develop a case plan with the youth, as follows:
    1. The provider must convene a case planning meeting which must include, at a minimum, the youth and provider staff. The youth's support (e.g., friends, family, guardian, other service providers, and/or clergy) are encouraged to participate, when possible and appropriate.
    2. The case plan must include clearly stated goals and measurable objectives, in language that the youth can understand.
    3. The goals should relate directly to the needs identified by the youth's comprehensive assessment and should be aimed toward positive discharge of the youth from the program.
    4. The case plan must include the frequency and manner of interaction between the youth and his/her case worker, as appropriate to the achievement of his/her goals.
    5. The case plan must be signed by the youth, provider staff, and any other service provider who was present at the meeting, indicating that they agree to and support the plan. Other individuals who attend the meeting are encouraged to sign, when appropriate. 
    6. The provider agency must keep the original case plan on file, and provide a copy to the youth.
    7. The case plan must be monitored as described in Section III, subsection H, 1. Case Monitoring and Tracking, below.
  6. Required Services. Transitional Living providers must provide or subcontract for the following services, in a manner that is culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate, indicated through the assessment of the client's needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan. Available services shall include, but not be limited to:
    1. Housing
    2. Food - The provider will insure that the youth has access to sufficient food to meet his/her physical needs
    3. Needed goods - The provider will assure that the youth has access to needed goods, including, but not limited to, clothing, shoes, food and personal hygiene products
    4. Benefits - The provider will assist youth in obtaining and maintaining available entitlements supports and services (e.g., SSI, SSDI, WIC, TANF, subsidized housing).
    5. Educational services - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an educational program promoting achievement of a GED or high school diploma.
    6. Life skills/independent living skills - Life skills or independent living skills training that promote the youth's self-sufficiency and address the needs of special populations.
    7. Employment and/or vocational training - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an employment/vocational program promoting achievement of career or vocational goals.
    8. Recreational services - The provider will promote and facilitate the youth's involvement in activities that are safe, meaningful and affordable.
    9. Social skills training - The provider will promote the development of interpersonal skills in the youth through positive modeling and/or access to formal training or involvement in group activities.
    10. Prevention services - Any of a variety of support services designed to improve the health and well-being of the youth and to enhance his/her chances of achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency and a healthy lifestyle.
    11. Transportation - May include the purchase of tickets and/or passes for airplanes, buses or trains; taxi or car fare; or provision of transportation for a youth by a driver approved by the provider agency.
    12. Individual counseling - Problem-solving, guidance and consultation with the youth around the case plan and/or his/her immediate concerns
    13. Special population needs - Services to address the needs of youth with special needs, such as those who are pregnant and/or parenting, including fathers; LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning); delinquent; developmentally disabled.
  7. Additional Services - The provider may provide onsite, refer and/or link the youth to community-based resources for the following services, in a manner that is culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate, as indicated through the assessment of needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan:
    1. Substance abuse services
    2. Legal services
    3. Mental health services
    4. Individual therapy
    5. Physical health services
    6. Dental services
  8. Case Monitoring/Tracking - Transitional Living providers must monitor and track the youth's progress toward achievement of his/her goals as established in the case plan.
    1. Providers must document the youth's progress toward achievement of his/her stated goals, entering case notes into his/her file that are clearly related to the case plan.
    2. The case plan in its entirety must be reviewed with the youth every 90 days, at a minimum, and updated as necessary. Updating will include the development of new goals and objectives that reflect the youth's progress and current status.
  9. Discharge/Case Closure - When possible, prior to leaving the program, the provider will meet with the youth and others, as appropriate, to discuss the youth's impending discharge.
    1. The provider will document the circumstances of and reason(s) for the youth's discharge from the program.
    2. The provider will meet with the youth, when possible, to develop a plan which includes, at a minimum, a summary of services received, activities currently in place, and recommendations for follow-up.
  10. Follow-up Services - The provider will make the youth aware of services that will be available to him/her through the provider and other community agencies for a minimum of 30 days.

Section IV - EMERGENCY/INTERIM HOUSING

  1. Program Description - Emergency/Interim Housing programs provide temporary housing and services to homeless youth on a 24-hour basis for up to 120 days, that are designed to assist youth in the following ways:
    1. To reunify the youth with his/her family, when possible; or
    2. To transition from homelessness toward self-sufficient living, including transitional and/or independent living programs.
  2. Eligible Population - Emergency/Interim Housing providers provide services to homeless youth between the ages of 14 and 21 (i.e., up to the 21st birthday), who are not wards of the State, with the following provision:
    1. Youth may not be enrolled after their 21st birthday
    2. For youth up to the age of 18, including minor unmarried parents:
      1. immediately upon intake, the provider must notify the local CCBYS (Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services) agency about any youth who is a minor away from home who has run away or whose parents will not allow him/her into the home; and/or
      2. within 48 business hours of intake, parental permission must be obtained in writing or, if verbal, it must be witnessed by two parties. If permission cannot be secured within 48 business hours:
        1. the agency must document its attempts to secure parental permission; and
        2. the agency must follow procedures outlined in the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, found at 705 ILCS 405/3-5.
  3. Program Availability - Agency staff must be available 24 hours a day to enroll youth and provide services, including resources to meet immediate basic needs.
  4. Intake - Intake should be completed within the first 24 business hours of accepting the client into the program. Intake should include, at a minimum, the following documents and/or processes:
    1. Enrollment - The provider must conduct an initial assessment that includes demographic information, emergency contact information, prior services, referral source, educational information, and identification of the need for physical and/or mental health services.
    2. Initial Service Plan - The provider must develop an initial service plan based on the information gathered in the initial assessment, above.
    3. Client's Rights - The provider must inform the youth of his/her rights that are protected by state and federal law. The agency will assure that the youth's rights are:
      1. presented to the youth in writing;
      2. communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      3. signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      4. kept on file at the provider agency.
    4. Informed Consent - The provider must confirm that the youth consents to services. This document must:
      1. be presented to the youth in writing;
      2. include the types of services to be provided;
      3. be communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      4. be signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      5. be kept on file at the provider agency.
    5. Rules of the Home - The provider must inform the youth of the rules of the home, including the consequences for breaking them. These rules must be:
      1. provided to the youth in writing;
      2. communicated in a language that he/she understands;
      3. signed by the youth; and
      4. kept on file at the provider agency.
  5. Comprehensive Assessment
    1. Within 30 days of accepting a client into the program, the provider must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client's needs , using an individual assessment process, as prescribed by the Department.
    2. Within 30 days of determining that a youth is pregnant or parenting, he or she must have an additional assessment, as prescribed by the Department.
  6. Case Planning - Within 45 days of enrollment into the program, and after completing the comprehensive assessment, the provider agency must develop a case plan with the youth, as follows:
    1. The provider must convene a case planning meeting which must include, at a minimum, the youth and provider staff. The youth's support (e.g., friends, family, guardian, other service providers, and/or clergy) are encouraged to participate, when possible and appropriate.
    2. The case plan must include clearly stated goals and measurable objectives, in language that the youth can understand.
    3. The goals should relate directly to the needs identified by the youth's comprehensive assessment.
    4. The case plan must be signed by the youth, provider staff, and any other service provider who was present at the meeting, indicating that they agree to and support the plan. Other individuals who attend the meeting are encouraged to sign, when appropriate.
    5. The provider agency must keep the original case plan on file, and provide a copy to the youth.
    6. The case plan must be monitored as described in Section IV subsection I, 1. Case Monitoring/Tracking below.
  7. Required Services - Emergency/Interim Shelter providers must provide or subcontract for the following services, as indicated through the assessment of the client's needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan. Available services shall include, but not be limited to:
    1. Housing
    2. Food - The provider will insure that the youth has access to sufficient food to meet his/her physical needs
    3. Needed goods - The provider will assure that the youth has access to needed goods, including, but not limited to, clothing, shoes, food and personal hygiene products
    4. Benefits - The provider will assist youth in obtaining and maintaining available entitlements supports and services (e.g., SSI, SSDI, WIC, TANF, subsidized housing).
    5. Educational services - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an educational program promoting achievement of a GED or high school diploma.
    6. Employment and/or vocational training - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an employment/vocational program promoting achievement of career or vocational goals.
    7. Transportation - May include the purchase of tickets and/or passes for airplanes, buses or trains; taxi or car fare; or provision of transportation for a youth by a driver approved by the provider agency.
    8. Individual counseling - Problem-solving, guidance and consultation with the youth around the case plan and/or his/her immediate concerns
    9. Coordination with CCBYS - The agency must notify the local CCBYS (Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services) agency about any youth who comes to the attention of the Homeless Youth provider who is a minor away from home who has run away or whose parents will not allow him/her into the home.
    10. Special population needs - Services to address the needs of youth with special needs, such as pregnant and parenting youth, including fathers; LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning); delinquent; developmentally disabled.
  8. Additional Services - The provider may provide on site, refer and/or link the youth to community-based resources for the following services, in a manner that is culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate, as indicated through the assessment of needs and appropriate to implementation of the case plan:
    1. Recreational services
    2. Social skills training
    3. Prevention services
    4. Life skills or independent living skills training
    5. Substance abuse services
    6. Legal services
    7. Mental health services
    8. Individual therapy
    9. Physical health services
    10. Dental services
    11. Transitional living services and/or permanent housing
  9. Case Monitoring and Tracking - Transitional Living providers must monitor and track the youth's progress toward achievement of his/her goals as established in the case plan.
    1. Providers must document the youth's progress toward achievement of his/her stated goals, entering case notes into his/her file that are clearly related to the case plan.
    2. The case plan in its entirety must be reviewed with the youth every 30 days and updated, as necessary.
  10. Discharge Planning/Case Closure - When possible, prior to leaving the program, the provider will meet with the youth and others, as appropriate, to discuss the youth's impending discharge.
    1. The provider will document the circumstances of and reason(s) for the youth's discharge from the program.
    2. The provider will meet with the youth, when possible, to develop a plan which includes, at a minimum, a summary of services received, activities currently in place, and recommendations for follow-up.
  11. Follow-up Services - The provider will make the youth aware of services that will be available to him/her through the provider and other community agencies for a minimum of 30 days.

Section V - OUTREACH 

  1. Program Description - Outreach programs provide services that are designed to assist homeless youth in making healthy lifestyle choices. Service provision may be approached in one of the following ways:
    1. Outreach event - Services are provided in areas where homeless youth are known to congregate or where they are located; or
    2. Other outreach activities - The agency may actively reach out to youth or other entities within the community to make them aware of services available at the agency. This may include in-person outreach, flyers, speaking to community groups, hotlines and/or other means of establishing the agency as a resource for homeless youth.
  2. Eligible Population - Outreach providers provide services to homeless youth between the ages of 14 and 21 (i.e., up to the 21st birthday), who are not wards of the State.
    1. Required Services - Outreach services should meet the youth's immediate needs. At a minimum, Outreach providers must provide or link youth to the following services:
      1. Prevention services - Any of a variety of support services designed to improve the health and well-being of the youth and to enhance his/her chances of achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency and a healthy lifestyle.
      2. Housing/emergency shelter
      3. Needed goods - The provider will assure that the youth has access to needed goods, including, but not limited to, clothing, shoes, food and personal hygiene products.
      4. Coordination with CCBYS - The agency must notify the local CCBYS (Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services) agency about any youth who comes to the attention of the Homeless Youth provider who is a minor away from home who has run away or whose parents will not allow him/her into the home.
      5. Crisis intervention services - The provider must assure that youth in crisis (e.g., those with mental health and/or substance abuse issues) have access to appropriate crisis intervention or counseling services.
    2. Additional Services - Youth for whom the agency provides the above services on a regular basis should be enrolled in the program and the provider must provide or link the youth to the following additional services, as appropriate.
      1. Case Management
      2. Advocacy
      3. Benefits - The provider will assist youth in obtaining and maintaining available entitlements supports and services (e.g., SSI, SSDI, WIC, TANF, subsidized housing).
      4. Educational services - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an educational program promoting achievement of a GED or high school diploma.
      5. Employment and/or vocational training - The provider will assure that the youth has access to an employment/vocational program promoting achievement of career or vocational goals.
      6. Transportation - May include the purchase of tickets and/or passes for airplanes, buses or trains; taxi or car fare; or provision of transportation for a youth by a driver approved by the provider agency.
      7. Individual counseling - Problem-solving, guidance and consultation with the youth around the case plan and/or his/her immediate concerns
      8. Special population needs - Services to address the needs of youth with special needs, such as those who are pregnant and/or parenting, including fathers; LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning); delinquent; developmentally disabled.
  3. Intake - The agency should enroll into the Homeless Youth program any youth who are receiving the above additional services.
    1. Enrollment - The provider must conduct an initial assessment that includes demographic information, emergency contact information, prior services, referral source, educational information, and identification of the need for physical and/or mental health services.
    2. Initial Plan - The provider must develop an initial plan based on the results of the initial assessment, above.
    3. Client's Rights - The provider must inform the youth of his/her rights that are protected by state and federal law. The agency will assure that the youth's rights are:
      1. presented to the youth in writing;
      2. communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      3. signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      4. kept on file at the provider agency.
    4. Informed Consent - The provider must confirm that the youth consents to services. This document must:
      1. be presented to the youth in writing;
      2. include the types of services to be provided;
      3. be communicated to the youth in a language that he/she understands;
      4. be signed by the youth, his/her parent or guardian (when applicable) and caseworker; and
      5. be kept on file at the provider agency.
  4. Comprehensive Assessment
    1. Within 30 days of accepting a client into the program, the provider must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client's needs , using an individual assessment process, as prescribed by the Department.
    2. Within 30 days of determining that a youth is pregnant or parenting, he or she must have an additional assessment, as prescribed by the Department.
  5. Case Planning - Within 45 days of enrollment into the program, and after completing the comprehensive assessment, the provider agency must develop a case plan with the youth, as follows:
    1. The provider must convene a case planning meeting which must include, at a minimum, the youth and provider staff. The youth's support (e.g., friends, family, guardian, other service providers, and/or clergy) are encouraged to participate, when possible and appropriate.
    2. The case plan must include clearly stated goals and measurable objectives, in language that the youth can understand.
    3. The goals should relate directly to the needs identified by the youth's comprehensive assessment and should be aimed toward positive discharge of the youth from the program.
    4. The case plan must include the frequency and manner of interaction between the youth and his/her case worker, as appropriate to the achievement of his/her goals.
    5. The case plan must be signed by the youth, provider staff, and any other service provider who was present at the meeting, indicating that they agree to and support the plan. Other individuals who attend the meeting are encouraged to sign, when appropriate.
    6. The provider agency must keep the original case plan on file, and provide a copy to the youth.
    7. The case plan must be monitored as described in SectionIV, subsection H, ACase Monitoring and Tracking,@ above.

Section VI - ADMINISTRATION

  1. Agency Licensure - Agencies that provide housing for youth under the age of 18 must be licensed by DCFS. The type of license that is appropriate for any given program (for example, child welfare, aggregate living, etc.) will be determined by the Department.
  2. Staffing
    1. Ratio - The youth-to-staff ratio varies based on the type and intensity of services being provided, as follows:
      1. Group housing - The youth-to-staff ratio in licensed programs that provide housing for youth under the age of 18 will be determined by the DCFS license. In cases where licensing does not apply, the program shall maintain a ratio of staff to youth that is sufficient to ensure adequate supervision and treatment, as determined by the Department.
      2. Scattered site housing - The youth-to-staff ratio for case management of youth in scattered site living must be no more than 25 to 1.
      3. Outreach events/activities - For safety purposes, two staff persons or one staff person and one trained volunteer, at a minimum, must be present at every outreach event/activity.
    2. Qualifications - Staff qualifications will vary based on the services being provided, as follows:
      1. Housing - Staff qualifications in licensed programs that provide housing for youth under the age of 18 will be determined by the DCFS license. In cases where licensing does not apply, staff qualifications are as follows:
        1. Direct service - At least 21 years of age with a minimum of a high school diploma or GED plus experience; bachelor's degree is preferred.
        2. Case managers - At least 21 years of age with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field plus experience; master's degree plus experience preferred.
        3. Supervisor - At least 25 years of age with a minimum of a bachelor's degree plus experience; master's degree plus experience is preferred.
        4. Administrator - At least 25 years of age with a minimum of a master's degree plus experience.
      2. Outreach
        1. Direct service - At least 18 years of age with a minimum of a high school diploma or GED plus experience (prior work experience and/or life experience); bachelor's or master's degree plus experience is preferred.
        2. Supervisor/Administrator - At least 25 years of age with a minimum of bachelor's degree plus experience; master's degree plus experience is preferred.
        3. Training and Continuing Education - Ongoing training and education is essential for the professional growth of the staff and assurance of high quality care for youth. At a minimum, each staff person must complete 15 hours of training every two years. This training must include:
          1. First aid/CPR certification
          2. Agency/program policies and procedures
          3. Youth and adolescent development
          4. Child Care Act of 1969 (225 ILCS 10) and mandated reporting
          5. Crisis intervention

Section VII - REPORTING OF UNUSUAL INCIDENTS

The agency must notify appropriate Department staff of any of the following incidents involving youth enrolled in the program, within 24 business hours of the incident:

  1. Serious threat or violence to self or others
  2. Death
  3. Suicide/suicide attempt
  4. Violence between youth and staff that results in injury
  5. Allegation of abuse or neglect reported to the State's Central Registry (DCFS)