ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative study with homeless youth (ages 18–24) was to understand their involvement in decision-making
within agency and community settings. Three focus groups with eight, six and six homeless youth were conducted at an urban
drop-in center and shelter from June to August 2008. Emergent themes include youth voice and ownership in agency and community
programming, emotional safety, power and reciprocal support. Grounded theory is used to interpret findings and develop working
hypotheses to guide future studies on empowering homeless youth to assume greater leadership involvement in their own lives,
in social service agencies and in their surrounding communities.
KeywordsHomeless youth–Leadership–Empowerment–Qualitative research–Grounded theory
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 04/2012; 28(1):1-22.