What Research Tells Us About the Intersecting Streams of Homelessness and Foster Care

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Abstract

This paper reviews mounting evidence linking foster care and homelessness and considers new approaches for intervention. Although there is no causal evidence that family homelessness leads to foster care or vice versa, the association no longer originates solely from samples of homeless people, but also from samples of people with childhood histories of foster care. Many programs work with families, children or youth based on their current living situations and limits imposed by funders. This results in discontinued services when the living situations change. Given the strong and consistent associations between homelessness and foster care, a better approach is to design programs that work with transient families regardless of their living situation. Parenting is key. Whether the parents are living with their children in homeless circumstances or are formerly homeless parents working to reunify with their children, coordinated, comprehensive, trauma-informed and family focused programs are needed to support parenting and family stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • children
  • families
  • foster care
  • homelessness
  • services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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