What’s Up on the Hill :
Runaway and Homeless youth and Trafficking Prevention Act
Date of Announcement:
About the Act: The R.A.H.Y and TPA is a much needed re-working of the 2009 Runaway and Homeless Youth act, which was was geared towards providing shelter, research, re-integration and other support services for, well, runaways and homeless youths. The proposed amendments will accomplish a few key changes. First off, the original act itself would be reauthorized through fiscal years 2016-2020 with a clearly stated dollar amount of 2,000,000 per year; the original monetary language was much more vague, promising “such sums as may be necessary” through FY 2013. Secondly, and one might argue most importantly, phrases like “prostitution” have been replaced in several phrases with ““violence, trafficking in persons, or sexual exploitation”. In the Eligibility Requirements section (312) the writers go so far as to refer to 2000 TVPA to define youth trafficking victims as “the such youth who have been coerced or forced into a commercial sex act, as defined in section 103”.
Other Notable Points:
- Extends the maximum stay shelter stay from 21 to 30 days
- Allows shelter services to include: trauma-informed and gender-responsive services for runaway or homeless youth, including victims .
- Requires plan applicants to assist youth in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- Revises the Transitional Living Grant Program to require: information and counseling services in basic life skills to be age, gender, and linguistically appropriate.
- Requires suicide prevention services, counseling to homeless youth, and aftercare services.
- Requires referral of homeless youth to mental health services, including programs providing comprehensive services to victims of trafficking in persons or sexual exploitation.
- Revises the sexual abuse prevention program to authorize the Secretary HHS to create grants to public and non-profit private agencies to provide street-based services
- Extensive non-discrimination clause
Take Home Point:
Support for this act would be progress from both the tangible, material resource angle as well as the ideological angle. It would mean further penetration of the language of the original TPVA act, a sort of legislative reframing of runaway youth prostitutes as victims of trafficking in humans. It not only appears to provide a more comprehensive array of transitional resources to eligible survivors, but also widens the scope of the eligibility itself.
Who's For it:
30 Democrats 2 Republicans 1 Independent.
According to GovTrack, slightly better than average!
Want to Help?: Take Action