America’s Youngest Outcasts, prepared by The National Center on Family Homelessness, reports 1 in 30 Children in the US Experiences Homelessness.
Major causes on child homelessness in the U.S. include: (1) the national’s high poverty rate; (2) a lack of affordable housing across the nation; (3) the 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.
Effective solutions must combine safe, affordable housing with essential services. Family members should be comprehensively assessed to understand what services they need. Parents may require education, job training, transportation, and childcare, and may also need mental health and parenting supports. All services should incorporate a family-oriented, trauma-informed approach.
The states are ranked in the report from 1 (best) to 50 (worst) using a composite of four domains: (1) extent of child homelessness; (2) well-being of the children; (3) risk for family homelessness; and (4) policy response. All states have children who are homeless. New Hampshire ranked 7th, finishing in the Top 10 along with 1. Minnesota, 2. Nebraska, 3. Massachusetts, 4. Iowa, 5. New Jersey, 6. Vermont, (7. New Hampshire), 8. Pennsylvania, 9. Hawaii and 10. Maine.
To read the full report and find out where New Hampshire ranks in other categories, please visit www.HomelessChildrenAmerica.org.
Prevalence of Child Homelessness
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 (2.5 million).
- This represents one in every 30 children in the U.S.
- This is an historic high in the number of homeless 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.
Impacts of Homelessness on Children
Research shows that homeless children are hungry and sick more often. They wonder if they will have a roof over their heads at night and what will happen to their families. Many homeless children struggle in school, missing days, repeating grades, and drop out entirely. Up to 25% of homeless pre-school children have mental health problems requiring clinical evaluation; this increases to 40% among homeless school-age children.
The impacts of homelessness on the children, especially young children, 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 may contribute to residential instability, unemployment, ineffective parenting, and poor health.
To read the full report, please visit www.HomelessChildrenAmerica.org.