“Coming From the Place of Walking with the Youth—that Feeds Everything”: A Mixed Methods Case Study of a Runaway and Homeless Youth Organization

Noelle R. Leonard, Robert Freeman, Amanda S. Ritchie, Marya V. Gwadz, Lara Tabac, Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Charles M. Cleland, James Bolas, Margo Hirsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Organizations for runaway and homeless youth (RHY) provide essential services to highly vulnerable youth who have a wide variety of basic needs and complex psychosocial challenges. We present a mixed-methods case study of an RHY organization to identify the specific mechanisms and processes by the organization successfully promotes engagement and positive development of the youth they serve. We analyzed qualitative and quantitative data separately and then integrated these two strands of data. Our findings indicate a consistent convergence of responses across the data sources, in both the qualitative and quantitative strands, that consistently reflect the organization’s youth-centered approach. Primary among these policies and practices is the emphasis on building and maintaining empathetic relationships with youth, the promotion of youths’ autonomy, and an institutional culture of continuous evaluation of how the organization is meeting their mission to provide services that reflect best practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-459
Number of pages17
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017



  • Positive youth development
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Setting quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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