Our Goals and Results
We work to help homeless and runaway youth escape the streets forever and transition to a life with stable housing, a solid educational foundation, and sustained employment. Our strategy to achieve that goal is to find homeless and runaway youth, help them come in off the streets, and provide them the services they need to overcome their challenges. We find these youth through our street outreach program, or through our crisis hotline, or even when they just walk in to our 24/7 crisis centers because they’ve heard of us through our many contacts and relationships in our communities. When they come in to our crisis centers we welcome them with open arms and no questions asked.
We provide a full continuum of services for our youth: healthcare services, substance abuse counseling, behavioral health treatment, educational services, employment training, and long-term, transitional living — what we call our Rights of Passage programs. During our 38 years in existence we’ve served over one million youth. Today we are one of the largest providers of services to homeless and runaway youth in the world, providing services at 21 sites in seven countries in North and Central America.
Over the years we have many, many success stories - almost too many to count. But we count nonetheless. We believe that we must constantly measure and assess our performance serving our youth so that we can continually strive to improve the outcomes that we help our youth achieve. In order to do that, we believe that we must understand the challenges facing all youth today; then understand the challenges facing youth we serve; and then rigorously assess the effectiveness of the services we provide. Through our Covenant House Institute we have developed a series of research reports in collaboration with academic partners that describe the characteristics of youth in the United States and in each state where we have a program; we have begun another series of research reports (again in collaboration with our partners) that describe the challenges that youth we serve face; and, with the Menninger Foundation, we undertook a rigorous research project to evaluate our performance. In that study, we found that our services are “strikingly effective” in helping youth achieve the core outcomes of stable housing, educational progress, and sustained employment. Since that project we have continued to measure those core outcomes quarterly. We are also nearing the completion of an intensive quality improvement initiative with nine of our sites to evaluate our outcome data quality and performance. And we are re-designing and re-launching an existing internal review process to continuously assess quantitative and qualitative data regarding outcomes, identify opportunities to improve our performance, and develop and implement data-driven strategies to better help our youth transition from the street to stable housing, a solid educational foundation, and sustained employment. We believe our youth - and our commitment to them - demand no less.