At this very moment, there are 300 unaccompanied minors living in North Dakota, meaning 300 kids under 18 don’t have a stable home or guardian.
This was a huge topic at today’s youth homelessness policy meeting in the capital city. It was hosted by Youthworks, a local non-profit that helps homeless, runaway, trafficked and struggling youth in North Dakota.
But they weren’t the only ones in attendance. The group consists of representatives from Bismarck Schools, child and family services agencies, a state senator and, most importantly, kids that have been there.
Tianne Moch spent much of her childhood in transition. She said it starts with the youth opening up about their situation, and not being afraid to ask for help.
“It’s overlooked when kids are bouncing from home to home in high school, or they don’t have parents or people to speak for them, and there are too many people to pay attention to realize that that’s going on. A lot of times those youth end up as adults who can’t provide for themselves, or don’t have the knowledge, or the ability, or the funds to do so and end up in shelters or low-income housing because they never really got a chance,” Moch shared.
The group said 17- and 18-year-olds are at the highest risk because there are some services available for young kids, but once you hit 18, the support virtually goes away.