Adolescent Well-Being after Experiencing Family Homelessness
This brief, from the ACF Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), provides descriptive information on the well-being of adolescents following their experiences of family homelessness. OPRE looked at a sample of 791 children, ages 10 to 17, 20 months after staying in a homeless shelter with their families. The brief compares this sample data with adolescents in low-income families when possible and with adolescents across all income levels when necessary. OPRE used benchmarks related to housing mobility, housing overcrowding, school mobility, school absences, social behavior, and substance use. Findings indicate when compared with national data, adolescents in the study continued to live with their families often in overcrowded conditions, were more likely to have changed schools and been absent more often, and generally exhibited more problem behaviors. Furthermore, recently homeless adolescents who changed schools frequently had slightly lower grades, less motivation, and slightly more problem behaviors than those who did not. These findings suggest efforts to decrease homelessness among adolescents must also include policies to reduce school mobility to help improve their behavioral and academic outcomes.