The purpose of this chapter of the study is to delineate the specific research questions and purpose, methodology, design, instrumentation, sample, and data collection/analysis procedures that will be employed in the study. Given that an overarching goal of the research project is to shed further light on the problems associated with adolescent homelessness in Los Angeles, this chapter is vital in identifying the empirical aspects of the entire project. Concerns regarding human protection and informed consent will also be addressed.
Previously published studies suggest that the problem of homelessness among youth in the Los Angeles metropolitan community area is growing (Yates, et al, 1991); further, the literature indicates that homelessness among adolescents is also associated with other social and public problems, including increases in crime, teen pregnancy and abuse, the sex trade, drug sales and use, and sexually transmitted diseases (Unger, et al, 1997). Homeless youth, in addition to being at risk for any and all of these problems, are also less likely than their peers who remain in family homes to complete an educational program at the secondary school level (much less a higher education or job training program), less likely to obtain viable permanent employment, and more likely to require extensive, even life-long publicly funded social, mental and physical health services (DeRosa, et al, 1999; Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty, 2000).
Further, such youth are seen as underserved by community-based service agencies and programs limited in their outreach and service efforts by scarce and at times declining resources (Abramson, 2003; Krisberg, 2003). Consequently, identifying the needs of such individuals, their use of existing service systems and programs, and solutions to the problems associated with their status is of significance.
The purpose of the study is to test two related research hyp...