America's Youngest Outcasts
From The National Center of Family Homelessness November 17, 2014
America’s Youngest Outcasts reports on child homelessness in the United States based on the most recent federal data that comprehensively counts homeless children, using more than 30 variables from over a dozen established data sets.
A staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States. Child homelessness increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia from 2012 to 2013. Children are homeless in every city, county, and state—every part of our country.
Based on a calculation using the most recent U.S. Department of Education’s count of homeless children in U.S. public schools and on 2013 U.S. Census data:
• 2,483,539 children experienced homelessness in the U.S. in 2013.
• This represents one in every 30 children in the U.S.
From 2012 to 2013, the number of children experiencing homelessness annually in the U.S.:
• Increased by 8% nationally.
• Increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
• Increased by 10% or more in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Major causes of homelessness for children in the U.S. include: (1) the nation’s high poverty rate; (2) lack of affordable housing across the nation; (3) continuing impacts of the Great Recession; (4) racial disparities; (5) the challenges of single parenting; and (6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.
The impact of homelessness on the children, especially young children, is devastating and may lead to changes in brain architecture that can interfere with learning, emotional self regulation, cognitive skills, and social relationships.
The unrelenting stress experienced by the parents, most of whom are women parenting alone, may contribute to residential instability, unemployment, ineffective parenting, and poor health.
Effective responses to child homelessness must include:
• Safe affordable housing.
• Education and employment opportunities.
• Comprehensive needs assessments of all family members.
• Services that incorporate trauma-informed care.
• Attention to identification, prevention, and treatment of major depression in mothers.
• Parenting supports for mothers.
• Research to identify evidence-based programs and services
Children are resilient and can recover from homelessness, but time is precious in their young lives. Services for children must be provided as soon as families enter emergency shelter or housing so that weeks and months critical to their development are not lost forever. Essential services must follow children into their permanent housing.
The federal government has made concerted efforts to reduce homelessness among chronically homeless individuals and veterans, and these efforts have shown significant progress. Children and families have not received the same attention—and their numbers are growing. Without decisive action and the allocation of sufficient resources, the nation will fail to reach the stated federal goal of ending family homelessness by 2020, and child homelessness may result in a permanent Third World in America.
LINK: FULL REPORT
LINK: Hawaii Report (Extent of Child Homelessness 6th lowest in USA.)