Examining the impact of family services on homeless children.


This study examined the impact on children of services delivered through a collaborative initiative designed to provide supports to working poor families who are homeless or at immediate risk of becoming homeless. Overall, a number of positive findings can serve to inform the development of promising intervention strategies for children in homeless families and highlight areas for further research. Along with improved housing status, there was a statistically significant improvement in the economic self-sufficiency of the families served, regardless of whether they completed the full programme cycle. In addition, youth self-report data indicated significant improvements in externalizing and internalizing behaviour. The ability to combine programme data with school data for participating children also made it possible to explore school performance outcomes. Although these results did not indicate a change in participants’ levels of attendance or reading performance, there was a statistically significant improvement in students’ math scores. Moreover, when participating children were compared with a group of students matched on their level of academic performance at baseline who had not received housing or homeless services, no significant differences were detected between groups post-intervention, indicating that services may help reduce the risk of homeless students’ falling further behind their peers academically.