Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans. Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS)

12/01/2006

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Description: The Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS) was designed to provide comprehensive information on youth served, issues that affect them and services provided for Runaway and Homeless Youth programs funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB). FYSB mandates that certain data be regularly collected and reported by its grantees. Current grantees must report on the profile of the youth and families they serve, and provide an overview of the services which they deliver under their grant programs. In order to assist grantees in their reporting responsibilities, FYSB funded the development of a Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS).
Relevant Policy Issues: Measures of Well-being for Children, Factors Contributing to Well-being Disparities of Children, Identification of Evidence-based Practices and Programs that Improve Child Well-being and are Generalizable/Replicable, and Homelessness.
Data Type(s): Program reporting data
Unit of Analysis: Individual
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Race and ethnicity are self reported by the youth. This sometimes results in multiple indications or not provided as responses. Below are the instructions provided to program staff on the data collection forms:

How does the youth describe himself/herself using these census categories? On the basis of the youths self-perception, select one or more codes indicating the young persons race category and one code indicating their ethnicity category.

The race categories are:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
  • Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/PI): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: For FY 2004:
TOTAL number of records in data set: 56,677
AI/AN: 1,922
NH/PI: 338
AI/AN and some other race(s): 398
NH/PI and some other race(s): 47

For FY 2003:
TOTAL number of records in data set: 74,290
AI/AN: 2,497
NH/PI: 581
AI/AN and some other race(s): 481
NH/PI and some other race(s): 78

Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of RHYMIS is national. State and regional identifiers are included in the data; therefore geographic analysis is possible at the state and regional levels. Although federally funded programs within all states submit data to RHYMIS, the data should not be used to produce state-wide estimates of runaway and homeless youth. RHYMIS data are only collected on youth who utilize federally funded programs under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. However, the data can be used to create state-level estimates of youth who use federally funded programs.
Date or Frequency: RHYMIS is collected on a semi-annual basis. Due dates are listed as April 15th and October 15th. Data are released for a full fiscal year. Prior to FY 2002, sometimes fewer than 45-55 percent of participating programs reported fully to RHYMIS. For this reason, use of data prior to FY 2002 is discouraged by RHYMIS staff. RHYMIS was re-designed during FY 2001; as a result, all data beginning in FY 2002 is based on virtually a 100 percent response rate.
Data Collection Methodology: Program staff utilize desktop software provided by FYSB to complete an intake and exit form for each youth serviced by the program.
Participation: Mandatory
Authorization: Authorization for RHYMIS falls under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act as Reauthorized (2003) by 42 U.S.C. 5701.
Strengths: This data set contains a large number of AI/AN/NA respondents. Data are collected on key policy issues, including (after 2004) history of involvement in the child welfare system (e.g., foster care experiences). Multiple years of complete data are available. Starting with the date range October 1, 2001 to the end of the most recent fiscal year (September 30, 2005), the data are virtually a 100 percent complete report on all youth served by all FYSB-funded runaway and homeless youth agencies. Generally less than 1 percent of the grantees fail to report at all by the time the database is closed for a six-month reporting period.
Limitations: There is little documentation available on the RHYMIS data. Studies that have used the RHYMIS data may discuss issues related to data quality, but ACF does not release a methodology report for data users.

RHYMIS data should not be used to generate estimates for all runaway and homeless youth. RHYMIS data focus on youth who are served by federally funded programs under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: NEO-RHYMIS is an online reporting system that contains complete data at the FYSB grantee level. Researchers interested in detailed RHYMIS research should contact the RHYMIS Hotline at (888) 749-6474. There are some limitations on use involving privacy issues.
Contact Information: Director, Division of Research and Evaluation
Family and Youth Services Bureau
www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb
phone: (202) 205-8496; fax: (202) 690-5600

Arlene Calabro, RHYMIS Support
acalabro@csc.com
(954) 472-4122
Computer Sciences Corporation
15245 Shady Grove Road
Rockville, MD 20850

 

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