Fostering a Developmental Perspective in Understanding Youth Homelessness



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University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work


Of the approximately 565,000 people experiencing homelessness at a given point in time in the United States, over 200,000 are persons in families, representing about 35% of the entire homeless population. This prevalence estimate provides a strong basis for concern about the potential effects of homelessness experienced by the children in those families. Homelessness is a challenging and traumatic experience for anyone. For children experiencing homelessness, the damage can be even more pervasive given their position in the process of development. The experience of homelessness offers a package of substantially negative effects that should be viewed in light of the differential developmental process. This paper explores the research on the negative life outcomes experienced by homeless children including disparities in health and in educational outcomes. It concludes by discussing implications for policy and practice.



Homelessness, Youth, Developmental Perspective, Perspectives on Social Work, Jennifer M. Frank, Homeless, Youths, Developmental Perspective, Perspectives on Social Work, Social work