Gap Analysis of Research Literature on Issues Related to Street-Involved Youth
This review has identified a number of issues and straightforward gaps in information that should be considered in future to enhance understanding of the street youth phenomenon and of how best to assist such youth in leaving the street and leading a safer life over which they can have more control.
The authors thus suggest the following topics be considered for future research. Priorities and appropriate methodologies would be the subject of another discussion paper. The research gaps to be filled are thus:
- Antecedent family physical and sexual abuse: analysis by gender and Aboriginal ancestry.
- Youths' decision-making patterns related to finding employment and budgeting or managing income, cross-referenced to age, gender, sexual orientation, and Aboriginal ancestry.
- A systematic study of housing: including an assessment of conditions in youth shelters, including hostels, and the development of models for appropriate youth-centred multi-stage housing.
- Links between mental illness in street-involved youth and age, gender, sexual orientation, and Aboriginal ancestry.
- Attitudes and beliefs of street-involved youth with regard to HIV/AIDS prevention programming available; cross-referenced with age, gender, sexual orientation, and Aboriginal ancestry.
- Youth needs for a range of information about survival basics such as housing, access to medical services, other programming; and what types of communication media are most likely to be effective.
- Identification of culturally appropriate programming that could be used in health care and social service centres for Aboriginal street youth.
- In-depth analysis of the reproductive health of female street-involved youth, addressing both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perceptions about conception, pregnancy rates, birth control practices, strategies for coping with pregnancy, self-care during pregnancy, care of infants.
- Study of the formation of two-parent or extended family units among heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, or fictive kin among Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, heterosexual, lesbian, gay male and bisexual street youth – developed as a coping mechanism.
- Investigation of the role of racism in the experiences of street youth – whether internalized attitudes, or the attitudes and behaviours of peers, service providers, the justice system, educational system – or other key players in the life of street youth.
- Study of street-involved youth of Asian, Hispanic or other ethnic origins, to determine their participation in this life, antecedents, possible programming strategies that would be culturally appropriate and more likely to be effective.
- Study of impacts of internalized and externally located homophobia upon street-involved youth.
- In-depth study of street-involved youth with disabilities – incidence, types, impacts on life on the street, potential programming to assist these youth.
- In-depth "meta-analysis" of programmatic responses already in existence for street youth in general and/or particular sub-groups (age groups, ethno-cultural, females, gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgendered), drawing on evaluation research findings for the programs.
- In-depth "meta-analysis" of methodologies used that most incorporate youth, but which still utilize accepted standards of methodological rigour.
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